ALBANY, GA (WALB) - For Gabe Arnold, there are no days off. Not if he wants to achieve his goals.
"To be an Olympic champ, four-time NCAA Champ," said Gabe.
The 12-year-old has a ways to go before he can accomplish those ultimate goals, but he's off to a good start.
Gabe claimed the USA Wrestling National Greco-Roman and Freestyle Championship last weekend in Atlanta.
"After those final matches, I was really hungry, but then I realized I did it. I'm a two-time national champion," explained Gabe.
The victories vaulted the Albany grappler to the national #1 ranking for in the novice 120 pound class.
Not bad for a kid who has only been wrestling for three years.
But his father and coach Phil Arnold said he's only slightly surprised by Gabe's sudden success.
"Gabe realized that's what he wanted, and he realized it was going to take a lot of hard work, and that's what he did," said Phil.
Natural talent is an understatement for the gifts young Gabe has brought to the mat.
But he also has a pretty good support system for wrestling-related questions in 2016 Olympic bronze medalist J'Den Cox, who also happens to be Gabe's cousin.
"How many kids, if they have a question about a move, can call up an Olympic bronze medalist, a three-time NCAA champion?" Phil said. "Nobody can do that, but Gabe can."
Gabe said his cousin's success motivates him, but he also wants to be known as his own wrestler. That means reaching the highest peaks in the sport on his own.
Will he be able to?
"Time will tell," said Gabe.
And that means it's back to the mat.
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