GRANT PARK | Grant Park-Beecher wrestler Tyler Tempco has been an inspiration to his teammates, though he said he is just another wrestler.
Tempco, a Grant Park junior, was born without hands, but has not let it limit him on the mat.
"To see him out there, doing throws, putting people on their backs, look at how hard he goes?" teammate Devin Mahnke said. "Last year, he was down six points with about a minute left and he put his shoulder into the guy and pinned him. Tyler is a very good wrestler."
Tempco, who wrestles at 145 pounds, said he wanted to play a winter sport and liked the competitiveness of the squared circle. He is nicknamed "Tico," pronounced Tee-Ko.
"I couldn't sit around all winter and not do anything," Tempco said. "I really love the sport and enjoy it. I go out there and expect my opponent to do all he can to beat me, and I will do all I can to win the match.
"I guess part of it is I want to prove people wrong."
Junior Nicole Thomsen said just looking at Tempco work in the wrestling room at Grant Park Elementary School is an inspiration.
"Everyone here wants to see this program get better and he is one of the leaders," Thomsen said. 'You look at what he does and he doesn't have hands, but he doesn't want anyone to feel sorry for him. He has really become a good wrestler, working on his moves and just practicing a lot."
Tempco sees the program getting better and this group is the cornerstone.
"Our goal is Assembly Hall (home of the state meet) and to have a champ or two," he said. "This was a sport I thought I could be good at, and I am enjoying it."