Eight-year-old Jarron Beltran Jr. has several trophies in his collection that are nearly as tall as he is.
A wrestler who weighs in at 52 pounds, Jarron has accumulated plenty of medals and trophies in the three years since he began competing in the sport. His most recent win was in Wisconsin, where he took first place in the 2019 USAW Kids Greco Nationals in the 8U category as well as second place in the freestyle competition in his age division.
“I love wrestling,” Jarron said. “It’s so much fun.”
A third grader at Grande Innovation Academy, Jarron has a string of victories to his credit. He won his first state title when he was 5.
“We want him to be a good wrestler and we think he has a bright future, but for us, it’s more about using the lessons learned from wrestling to help him become a good person,” said Jarron’s father, Jarron Beltran Sr. “Through wrestling, he learns about overcoming obstacles and staying humble.”
Jarron was about 2 when he began wrestling with his older brother, Alex Medrano, who wrestled throughout his years as a student at Vista Grande High School and now serves in the U.S. Marine Corps, stationed at Camp Pendleton.
“It started with him rolling around on the mat with Alex,” Beltran said. “As he grew older, he became more disciplined.”
The younger Jarron is enrolled in Sunnyside Wrestling Academy in Tucson. He has practice several times a week. He also jogs about 2 miles a day, works out daily — a corner of the family home serves as an impromptu wrestling gym — and plays baseball and soccer.
“He wants to play football too, but we’re not sure he’ll have the time,” his mother, Trisha Medrano, said.
Wrestling is a family affair for the Beltran-Medrano family.
About about every eight weeks, the family is on the road traveling to children’s wrestling tournaments across the country where Jarron competes against others. He also takes part in several statewide competitions throughout the year as well as national ones.
Some of the tournaments he’s participated in recently are the USA National Freestyle last May; the AZUSAW 2019 State Greco; the 2019 Marines Western Regionals; Terminator World Championships; and the Monster Match Nationals, among others.
“He’s always ready,” his mother said. “He loves it.”
While he’s had about 29 wins, he’s had his share of losses too.
“We went to Iowa, and he wrestled twice and then was out,” Trisha said. “He has those days. He’s very competitive but we try to help him learn from the losses.”
Jarron’s favorite tournaments are those in which his older brother Alex joins the family to watch him compete and cheer him on.
“I think about my older brother when I wrestle,” Jarron said. “He taught me that I need to wrestle hard and stay humble.”
While Jarron is coached at the wrestling academy, his dad also serves as coach, ensuring that he practices and stays motivated.
“He works hard but he loves it,” Beltran said.
The 8-year-old’s extensive traveling schedule is a family commitment.
“We both have understanding and supportive employers, but we do sometimes take time off work to travel with Jarron,” Beltran said.
To help offset some of the expenses, Jarron has sponsors.
His grandparents Charlene and Pete Pedroza do much of the fundraising and recruiting.
“He’s a hometown boy who is doing well wrestling at national tournaments,” Charleen said. “There’s no other wrestler his age in Casa Grande who’s competing nationally like Jarron is.”
When he’s not practicing, playing sports or traveling, Jarron enjoys watching videos of his favorite wrestlers. When he can, he tries to imitate their moves.
“My favorite wrestler is Jordan Burroughs (an American freestyle wrestler, Olympian and four-time world champion). I like his style and he has a lot of medals,” the 8-year-old said. “I have a lot of medals too.”
Jarron will spend his final days of summer vacation at a two-week wrestling camp in Prescott, where he’ll hike, run, swim and wrestle.
“He’ll be pushed to his limits at that camp but it will be good for him,” Beltran said. “He’ll learn a lot.”
To follow Jarron’s competition wins and ranking, visit the website trackwrestling.com. To become a sponsor, call 520-252-1623.