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With year-round commitment, Horn family produces state champs

 

From left, Jason Horn, Kaleb Horn, Kodie Horn and Steve Hood pause for a photo at the state tournament Saturday. - Brittany Cozza photo

The Horn family has an interesting family tradition: producing state champions in wrestling. There have been four state champions from the Horn family so far: Jason, Jake, Kodie, and Kaleb, creating a local wrestling dynasty that spans 30 years.

Jason Horn, the father of Kodie and Kaleb, became state champion while wrestling at the 148 weight division for Ephrata High School in 1987.

Then came Jake Horn, Jason's nephew and Kodie and Kaleb's cousin, also wrestling for Ephrata, who became state champion in 2006 in the 112 weight division. Jake Horn went on to a college wrestling career for St. Cloud State University, competing in the NCAA Division 2. A two-time all-American, in his senior year he took second in the nation, wrestling at 157.

Next came Kodie Horn. Wrestling for Lake Roosevelt in the 145 weight division, he took the state championship in 2013.

Kaleb Horn, the youngest of the Horn boys, won state last year wrestling at 113, and this year at 132.

"It's a big jump competition-wise from 113 to 132," said Raider Head Coach Steve Hood. "Some people don't make that jump very well because their strength doesn't come up enough or their technique doesn't come up enough. Kaleb overcame all those."

"He's kind of the last one in my family line until somebody starts having grandkids," Jason Horn said Monday. "His goal was always to outdo the rest of us. Since the rest of us only got single championships, this win was his way to validate that goal, and his continual goal is to win three."

"It feels really great," Kaleb Horn, a junior, said. "We're all competitive. They've all won once, and now I've won twice."

"It feels like - after all the traveling we do, and the expenses, and the time we put in - that it is well earned," Jason Horn said.

He said he doesn't emphasize a strict diet, but simply "eating healthy, controlling your portions, drinking lots of water. What you put in is what you're going to get out of your body."

When high school wrestling stops, freestyle wrestling starts, and Kaleb will compete around the state. He'll try to get on the Washington state team, which he has done twice already, competing at nationals in Fargo, ND.

"It's definitely a year-round sport for our family," Jason Horn said.

Becoming a champion requires a lifetime of dedication.

"We started them in the little guys program with Steve Hood when they were five; that was the eligible age. Started them real early," Jason Horn said.

That means that Steve Hood, the Lake Roosevelt Raider coach, has coached Kodie and Kaleb all the way from the little guy level to the state championship level.

"He's really helped me all the way up through the program since I was five," Kaleb Horn said. "We've spent countless hours on the road together going to tournaments; he's always texting me, checking up on my grades."

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