Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Local kid with judo background wins NCAA wrestling title for Oklahoma

HighBeam Research

Title: Kading wraps up NCAA Glenbard S. product snares 190-pound title for Oklahoma.(Sports)

Date: March 31, 1996 Publication: Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL) Author: Bush, Joe
Byline: Joe Bush Daily Herald Sports Writer
John Kading's performance in last weekend's NCAA Division I wrestling championships was as solid as the beginning of his career was quirky.
Kading, a 1992 Glenbard South grad and University of Oklahoma redshirt junior, not only won the 190-pound national crown last Saturday night at the Target Center in Minneapolis, his five opponents scored only when he let them up after takedowns.
Kading claimed the Amateur Wrestling News' No. 1 ranking with a January victory over then-top-ranked Brian Stout from Clarion and more than justified it last weekend with a technical fall and decisions of 3-0, 10-3, 8-2 and the title-clinching 7-3.
"He wrestled relentless," says OU coach Jack Spates. "He wrestled with abandon."
Kading wrestled with just eight years of experience. That may seem like a lot, but many kids have wrestled for eight years by their senior year in high school.
Not only had Kading not wrestled before he entered Glenbard South, he only began the sport because he goofed around in class one day and lost a bet on another.
One day a boisterous Kading drew the ire of algebra teacher and Raiders wrestling coach Rod Peterson, who hadn't put a student in detention in 22 years. He told Kading to instead report after school to the wrestling room, where 105-pound Mike Dusel threw around the 130-pound, judo-accomplished Kading.
Soon afterward, Peterson overheard Kading touting Loyola over Evanston in an upcoming football game. Loyola is the alma mater of Kading's father John, while Evanston was where Peterson began his career.
Peterson bet Kading that Evanston would win the game. The stakes? If Loyola lost, Kading would try wrestling. Evanston won, and the rest has been history in the making.
Kading was under .500 his freshman year, posted a 32-5 record his sophomore year and won state titles at 152 and 160 his junior and senior years. During the summers he placed sixth and first at the junior freestyle nationals.
In 1992, Glenbard South's year-end assembly honoring Raiders athletic accomplishments - The Convocation, it's called - was more like John Kading Day. Peterson showed a video of Kading, then told the gathering they migh one day see Kading win an NCAA championship.
* * *
Kading chose Oklahoma - which offered a full ride - over Lock Haven, a tradition-rich Division I program in wrestling-mad Pennsylvania.
As hard as Kading worked in high school, he had to work harder at OU - matches are seven minutes long in NCAA wrestling. As dominant as he was in Illinois, it meant nothing in a practice room in Oklahoma.
"I came into a room full of John Kadings," he says. "There were days (in practice) I went without a takedown."
He redshirted his freshman year and nearly left Oklahoma when then-coach Stan Abel retired that summer. Spates "re-recruited" him, says Kading.
"I ended up staying and loving it," he says.
Because Sooners All-America Andy Foster wrestled at 190, Kading had to compete at heavyweight in his redshirt freshman year.
Though the 212-pound Kading spotted most of his opponents 50 pounds or more, he finished sixth at the NCAAs with a combination of quickness and smarts.
"I had to learn to move," Kading says of his heavyweight year. "I couldn't just stand there and push with them. I never had an easy match that year."
That summer, Kading worked with the U.S. World Team at the Foxcatcher training center in Pennsylvania, on the same grounds made infamous last fall after Foxcatcher founder John DuPont fatally shot wrestler Dave Schultz.
In 1995, Kading placed fifth in the nation at 190 after losing to the defending national champ in the semifinals. Just as he turned up his dedication after his sophomore year in high school, Kading turned the screws after his second All-America season.
"I doubted myself and it's something I still regret to this day," Kading says. "I was happy with fifth, and I should never have been."
Kading needed to improve in three areas: offense, riding time - a minute of which is worth a point in NCAA competition - and self-confidence.
Kading's judo experience was evident in his high school takedown abilities. With recruiters in the Assembly Hall stands in 1992, Peterson challenged Kading to display his arsenal in his first Downstate match. Kading took his opponent down with at least six different moves.
Still, Spates says "in terms of shots, (Kading) didn't have any" when Spates took over at OU in 1993.
In Saturday's final, Kading took down third-seeded Paschal Duru of Cal State-Bakersfield three times with his favorite move, a high double leg.
"He's not only worked hard - and he's one of the most prolific workers I've been around - he also works smart," Spates says. "He has improved his offense 1,000 percent."
Of the final, Peterson, who regularly travels to John's contests with John and Gail Kading, says "When he got that first takedown, I knew it was all over."
Kading's offense had come through because his confidence had.
"I've always had a large repertoire, but I was afraid to use it," Kading says. "I had to mentally let go. I just let loose (at the NCAAs).
"This year I went out with confidence. No matter who was in front of me, I thought and knew I could beat you."
Kading became the Sooners' first NCAA champ since 1990 by heeding the advice Peterson gave him in high school: "Spectators don't like to see one takedown and two guys hold out. They like to see constant action. Go out and make it interesting for them."
Kading holds Peterson in higher regard than Peterson can understand. Though the retired coach says "I was a starting influence, then I was an encouraging influence" in Kading's career, Kading says Peterson's effect will reach beyond the mat.
Kading is majoring in sociology and wants to teach and coach in Illinois.
"I wanna do for some kid what Mr. Peterson did for me," Kading says, "and that's basically change my life. He was like a second parent. I could talk to him about anything."
Kading was an academic qualifier as a college freshman, but not without a struggle no one really understood. Once college coursework began, the difficulty he had retaining what he read was too much.
"Everyone (in high school) chalked it up to me being lazy, and that's what I chalked it up to," Kading says.
He was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, and his treatment with the drug Cylert, along with tutoring, has helped him earn Bs and Cs.
"He's a lot more relaxed now," Peterson says. "He wants a diploma out of college real bad."
Kading has other goals as well. At that Convocation, Peterson had suggested Kading might also one day be an Olympic titlist.
"He's got Olympic aspirations," Spates confirms. "Right now he wants to be a two-time NCAA champion."
As Spates spoke on the phone from Norman, Okla. Monday, Kading was spending part of his second full day as NCAA champion in the weight room.

COPYRIGHT 2009 Paddock Publications
This material is published under license from the publisher through the Gale Group, Farmington Hills, Michigan.  All inquiries regarding rights should be directed to the Gale Group.

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