Deschutes County

Wrestling La Pine brothers are a force

State champs, dad-coach heading to middle school nationals in Illinois

La Pine brothers, dad wrestle way to the top

LA PINE, Ore. - Fourteen-year-old David Kerr is quick. and 12-year-old Derrik Kerr is strong. Their dad, Dave Kerr, becomes coach the second they hit the mat.

"I wrestled for BYU-Idaho, and then once I got married and had kids, it was time to get them on the mat," Kerr said this week.

A hug or a headlock is never far away for the Kerr family -- four boys and a girl, all wrestlers. Their garage now the home of the La Pine Blue Lightning Mat Club, where David and Derrik have become a force to be reckoned with.

"My oldest one, David, is very athletic -- he's got a lot of natural ability, and he moves in a way that most kids don't," Dave explained. "Derrik is my bulldozer, and if he can't beat you with technique, he'll beat you with hard work."

Despite the differences in styles, the brothers now have something in common. Both recently captured state titles, wrestling side by side.

"We were wrestling at the exact same time. He won his match, and then 20 seconds later I won my match," Derrik said.

David's middle school record is 73- 1, while keeping up a 3.8 grade point average. As for Derrik, he's just getting started as a sixth grader, but closed the season 32- 1 and with a 4.0 GPA.

Now the boys, along with 15 other Oregon youth, are leaving Wednesday to compete in the Middle School National Dual Meet in Illinois.

"Time to go show the other states what your state is made of," Derrik said.

Dave, who's been coaching at La Pine Middle School for three years, was asked to be one of four coaches in the state to coach Team Oregon while in the Midwest.

He's taking one important mantra with him.

"Never give up. Everything we do, we do for a purpose. And make sure people know who you are and what you stand for."

The message is certainly one David and Derrik have taken to heart -- most of the time.

"When he's on the mat, he'll give these hand signals, and I'll know what he's saying and I'll just get it done. Other times it's like, 'Okay Dad, I get it, just ..." and David made the "zip your lips" motion.

Redmond eighth-grader Mitch Willit joins David and Derrik at the meet in Illinois on Wednesday. Tucker Shores and Cade Woodward from Crook County are also going to the meet.

We wish all of those boys good luck this week!

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