12-Year-Old Sets The Pace At State Championships


A 55-pound, 7-year-old paced Payson's Team Pankration mixed martial arts showing in the Arizona Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu State Championships.

During the gold medal games, held June 23 in Mesa, Root battled his way to the kid's division title by posting a 3-0 record.


Members of the Payson Pankration team that participated in the Arizona Brazilian Jiu-jitsu state championships were Adam Timmer, Ryan Sundra, Wyatt Shepherd, Randy Steinke and Mike Bonnette.

"Tony submitted his first two opponents with arm bars," said Pankration instructor Wyatt Shepherd. "His last match for the state championship was a close one, with Tony pulling ahead on points with just 20 seconds (remaining)."

The boy, Shepherd said, "performed better than I have ever seen him."

Last year, Root finished second at the championships.

Root's older sister, Krystle, a 13-year-old, 80-pounder was third in the competition. In 2006, she won her age division, submitting all three of her opponents.

Also during the championships, Payson's Ryan Sundra took second place in an adult division.

"He proved hard to handle using superb technique and great body control," Shepherd said. "A few of his opponents actually got airborne on his takedowns and sweeps."

In the championship finale, Sundra was defeated by two points.

"It was a war," Shepherd said.

Also for Payson, newcomer Adam Timmer took the silver medal in his division, while competing in only his second tournament.

"Adam submitted his first three opponents," Shepherd said. "His final match was against one of Arizona Combat's best students.

"Adam almost had an arm bar in the first part of the match, before getting caught in a choke."

In winning three events, Timmer used triangle chokes and a rear naked choke to submit his opponents.

Team Pankration strength and conditioning coach Randy Steinke also competed in Mesa, finishing third in his division. Two of his wins came by triangle chokes.

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