COLUMBIA CITY — A video taken in the wrestling room at Indian Springs Middle School went viral last week, reaching millions of people and was broadcast by many popular television shows, such as Fox News and Good Morning America.
The video begins by showing two young wrestlers, Ryan Prendergast, age 5, and four-year-old Ruby taking shots on the mat. When Ryan appeared to be getting the upper-hand on Ruby Lewis, her 2-year-old little brother, Jash, ran to her rescue, tackling her opponent off of her.
Columbia City’s elementary wrestling team hosted 14 teams from the area for its annual duals. The upstairs wrestling room had to be used to accommodate the number of wrestlers.
At first glance, it may not appear that the video was filmed at a Columbia City school, because the wrestling mat is black and gold with a big letter “T” in the middle.
The mat originated at Thorncreek School in Thorncreek Township, north of Columbia City. After the construction of Indian Springs Middle School in the 1990s, the mat was moved from the then-closed Thorncreek school to ISMS.
Coaches estimate the mat is about 35 years old. It’s typically used as a practice mat.
“I wrestled on that mat,” said elementary club coach Jeremy Lopez, who graduated from Columbia City High School in 2008.
When Lopez first saw the video, he immediately knew it was filmed at ISMS.
“That T stuck out like a sore thumb and we all knew where it was,” Lopez said. “It’s cool that it was in our practice room.”
Lopez said sibling and team camaraderie is typical for wrestling, whether wanting to run out on the mat and help their siblings, or giving them tough love in practice.
“We have a brother and sister on our team right now, the sister beats the tar out of her brother and makes him better,” Lopez said. “It’s a wrestling thing.”
However, Lopez said it’s the first time he’s seen a sibling run out on the mat in the middle of a match.
The elementary team will host another event in March, a folk-style tourney, Iron Eagle.
The video has made its rounds, not only being picked up by national news companies, but other viral Facebook pages as well.
Another Columbia City coach, Pat Krouse, said his aunt, who lives in Florida, sent him the video because she knew his family is big into wrestling, and thought it was cute.
“She didn’t know that was our tournament,” Krouse said. “It made her local news.”
The video can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bSE-rh7jFg.