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From the living room floor at age five continuing now to his senior season, Kaden Charboneau has been wrestling with a passion for success. The Wagoner High senior is busy preparing for a final chance at a gold medal on the wrestling mat after last year picking up the bronze medal while competing in the 160-pound division at the Class 4A OSSAA championships.
“There’s a definite motivation to win this time,” said Charboneau. “I was expecting to win state and when I got beat in the semifinals, I was devastated. It made me realize that I needed to train twice as hard for this season.”
The road to a championship on the mat began long before the start of his senior year as Charboneau was forced to find various methods for training amidst the Covid pandemic.
“I had to find alternative ways to get a workout in,” replied the Bulldogs senior. “I have my own weight set at home that was a big help to combat against the limits of the quarantine.”
The offseason workouts proved fruitful during the football season as the outside linebacker and his teammates persevered through all the challenges to finish 14-0 and Class 4A state champions.
One difference for Charboneau this season will be moving to the 182-pound weight classification.
“It’s an advantage for me because I don’t have to cut any weight. I can eat when I want and feel more energized before every event. I also believe now I’m faster than the other 182-pound wrestlers.”
His teammates, coaches and closest friends know Kaden as “K-dog,” a nickname given when he was growing up by his dad, Micco Charboneau, Wagoner wrestling coach. The father-son and coach-athlete relationship comes with expectations.
“Because my dad is coach, I feel like I am expected to perform at a higher level. It puts pressure on me to be the coach’s kid but it also pushes me to be a better wrestler.”
Involved in activities beyond the wrestling mat, Charboneau maintains a 3.8 GPA to earn membership to the National Honor Society along with participation in the Native American Club and student council. In addition to wrestling and football, Charboneau will compete on the tennis court this spring for the Bulldogs.
But, first things first, Charboneau has a wrestling strategy he hopes will result in a second gold medal during his senior year.
“I like to scramble. I feel like in strange positions I can always score and defend very well,” Charboneau said with confidence. “When the opportunity presents itself, I try to get my opponent on his back with a headlock and an inside trip.”
Diligent, leadership and fearless are words that are used when defining the efforts of Kaden Charboneau. And when he walks off the mat for the final time at the OSSAA state meet, he’ll welcome a bear hug from his dad and celebrate the accomplishments of his lifetime dream.
“I’ve always lived by the phrase hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. I want my legacy as a Wagoner Bulldog to be known as the guy who works the hardest all the time.”