Gage Reesor started studying Brazilian jiu-jitsu at the age of six, so it is not that surprising that he was able to bring home a state championship in the sport of wrestling this season.
What is amazing is the fact that it is his third consecutive season to do so.
The Liberty Christian wrestler wrapped up the wrestling season with a 36-2 mark and said that even though he has won three state championships, there were very different emotions associated with each victory.
“The first time, I was super psyched, but there was that doubt in the back of my mind thinking, ‘what if this is just a fluke?’” Reesor said. “Then the second time, it kind of hit that I had really reached this level. The third time, being my senior year, I kind of focused on being humble and not acting cocky about the whole thing. That seemed to help me a lot this year.”
Reesor said that one of the two losses he sustained this season was by one point to the 140-pounder that won the UIL state meet for public schools this year.
He also competed at the nationals competition, where he was one spot away from being named an All-American.
What is probably most impressive is that he never competed in youth wrestling.
“Because I did Brazilian jiu-jitsu for so many years, I knew how to do all of the same basic grappling,” Reesor said. “I had never been introduced to wrestling, but when I went to Liberty in the eighth grade, they offered it. I figured, what the heck, why not try it. I was good at Brazilian jiu-jitsu, maybe I could be good at this.”
Brazilian jiu-jitsu focuses on grappling and especially ground fighting. It promotes the concept that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend against a bigger, stronger one by using proper technique, leverage, and most notably, taking the fight to the ground, and then applying joint-locks and chokeholds to defeat the other person.
The Liberty student, who was named team captain this year, took to wrestling like a duck to water, but said there were a few growing pains along the way that he had never really anticipated.
“It came natural, but I definitely had to work at it,” Reesor said. “The whole eating thing, I had to completely change my diet and realize that could not eat whatever I wanted all the time.”
With his background, it stands to reason that Reesor might be interested in a career in mixed martial arts, which is exactly what the Liberty senior is thinking.
“That is absolutely my plan,” Reesor said. “I was never really big into that at first. I was just always a small kid, and my parents wanted me to have a background in something so that I could stand up for myself. As I was going, I almost got burnt out. Then I started watching the UFC, and that really inspired me to learn all that I can and hopefully pursue a career in the sport.”
Reesor, who has also been on three mission trips, once to Guatemala and twice to El Salvador, said his biggest supporter over the years has been his great uncle, Andy Robinson, who, along with his wife, Dee, took Reesor into their home at a young age and raised him as their own son.
Reesor said he cannot begin to express the gratitude he has to Robinson for what he has done.
“He was the first one coming up with the idea of training,” Reesor said. “He would take me places and teach me about the sports, and he would listen to me and get my input on things. He was also really hesitant on pushing me on things I didn’t want to do. He has been extremely supportive the whole way through.”
The Liberty Christian senior is joining the United States Navy on July 2, and is heading to college after that, with his ultimate goal to simply be the best he can in what he does, while remaining humble.
Robinson said he and his wife are very impressed with the kind of young man that Reesor has grown into and said that there is no way for them to completely express what he has meant to them, either.
“It makes us proud to see who he has become,” Robinson said. “We are totally blessed by having him in our home, and we love him as if he had been born to us. It’s been an amazing journey. He’s a gift from God.”