Austin Paris (UT): Anything Is Possible
By Bill X. Barron
One of the many prodigies produced by the Champions Club of Utah is 11-year old Austin Paris out of Moab. Wrestling since the age of six, Austin has competed in 9 states, while traveling 3 hours each way to attend regular practice with Coach Craig Lamont and his sons Taylor and Grant who currently compete for Utah Valley University. Austin comments: “I love how supportive they are. If you make a mistake on the mat, they help me fix it as soon as the match is over. They welcome me like family.” Austin also appreciates the coaching instruction he has had in state with Team Utah’s Jade Rauser as well as Devils Club Coaches Kelly Sheets and Jason Ramsdell, and out of state on the POWA travel team with Adam Urenda and Dan Cardenas.
Craig Lamont elaborates on Austin’s potential for greatness: “In the decades I have been coaching, I have only known two other wrestlers who have such a natural gift for the sport. One is Taylor, my son, and the other is the late Caleb Williams. I have coached about 30 or 40 gifted athletes, yet being a gifted athlete and being someone who just has that natural feel on the mat are two different things. I watch David Taylor and Brock Hardy. I didn't coach them, but I envision their youth coaches knowing that they were something. That is Austin. A gifted athlete, a natural wrestler, a hard worker committed to the sport with parents willing to spend any amount of money to get him the best coaches and to bring him to events to reach his potential.
Coach Lamont further states: “If I were a college coach or an Olympic coach, I would already have this kid on a prospect list. I have been on almost ten world tours with team USA to World Championships and Pan Am Games. I know the caliber of wrestler needed to make those teams. I am fully confident that Austin Paris will be a contender for national titles and world titles in a few short years. I am blessed and proud to have him in my club. He will add to a pretty great list of athletes to achieve great things in this sport!”
For the 2017-18 wrestling season, Austin captured 14 RMN tournament championships along with 4 Outstanding Wrestler Awards, while earning the Ring of Fame (6 championships), Golden Gear (5), World Belt (4), and Triple Crown belts. In addition, Austin is a 4-time Utah Super State champion and a 2X state freestyle and Greco champ, as well as being named the 2017 Utah Elementary School Wrestler of the Year. Out of state, Austin was named All-American at the Virginia Challenge Duals and Heartland National Duals, in addition to winning the 2017 U.S. Open freestyle and Greco crowns.
An appropriate metaphor for young Austin’s work ethic, The Gauntlet is his favorite workout off the mat, consisting of tires and other obstacles created by the Moab high school’s baseball coach. In Austin’s view, “wrestling has showed me that hard work and dedication are the only way to succeed in life.” When training with coaches Tucker Ray and Mike Ivie, Austin enjoys the fact that “they are so aggressive and they get me so pumped up before big matches. With them in my corner, I Feel Like Anything Is Possible.”
Team Utah is stacked with talent, including his brother Landon Moralez, a Utah Super State champion, as well as athletes Dillon Ivie and Riker O’Hearon, previously featured in WIN Magazine. For Austin, they are the perfect practice partners, as “none of us like to lose, so we push each other to the limit.” His mantra is “hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard.” Austin states: “Wrestling has made me a hard worker. I’m not afraid to work hard and get my hands dirty.” The sport has shaped his character by “making me very goal-oriented. It has taught me respect and discipline, and that without sacrifice you cannot succeed.”
Austin values his participation in RMN Events because of “the unbelievable level of talent you wrestle against. I love wrestling against the best, so I can see whether my hard work is paying off. Or if I still have more work to do. I love how RMN makes me feel so welcome; I feel like I am part of something special when I am at an RMN event. I also love that they do a prayer before every tournament. Overall, they treat me like family.”
A star all around, Austin is starting quarterback on the football team and starting shortstop for his baseball squad. In his words, “once you have wrestled, all the other sports seem easy” because you are more prepared mentally and physically. Like his excellence in wrestling, Austin’s straight-A grade average results from his attitude that “I know I can’t settle for anything but the best.” Wrestling has allowed him to travel across the country, but he is mature enough to understand that academics will lead to success in school and life. When his competing days are done, Austin hopes to return full circle to help build Moab’s Grand County High School and their Red Devil Wrestling Club into a state contender.