Triad wrestler with cerebral palsy pushes past limitations

20 January 2023

(WGHP) — When you first think of a wrestler, you probably picture guy with a muscular build and a dense body weight.

While that may be true for some, it wasn’t the case for Wyatt Cigliano.

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“I really fell in love with the sport, and I said I’m gonna do it,” Wyatt said.

Born with cerebral palsy, Wyatt has spent his whole life pushing past limitations.

“He was told early on he might not ever walk,” said Millicent Bullins, his mom.

But Wyatt has never taken “no” for an answer. What Wyatt lacks in size, he makes up for in heart

“I said ‘you know what? We’re going to take this shot at it,’ and I wasn’t going back down from a challenge,” he said.

When the idea to join the wrestling team came up, there was never any doubt he would dominate on the mats.

“I’ve never told him he couldn’t do anything,” his mom said. “Just let him try it. It may take him longer. May take him a few tries to get something or accomplish it, but I just let him have at it.”

So Wyatt took all 64 pounds of his body to Coach Rob Birchfield and told him he wanted to join the team.

“He comes up to me and says…’coach, I want to wrestle this year,'” Coach Birchfield said. “I said ‘great! Maybe you can wash some clothes and do some water for me and stuff.’ And he let me know right away: I wanna wrestle.”

From that moment, it was full force.

“He’s that that guy that shows up to practice first, and he’s the last to leave every day,” Coach Birchfield said.

And his team supported him every step of the way.

“All the wrestlers at the beginning of the season had gotten together and were like no one’s going to pick on him,” Wyatt’s mom said. “No one’s gonna make fun of him. If they do, then we’re just going to refuse to wrestle.”

Through his first season, Wyatt has never missed one practice. Not only has he built his strength, but he’s built his determination.

“At practice, I really have to say ‘I’m not gonna quit,'” Wyatt said.

“It has changed the way he is as a person,” Coach Birchfield said. “It really has. It’s given him like confidence, but just a…a

In just one season, Wyatt went from not knowing any wrestling techniques to bringing the crowd to their feet every time he steps on the mat.

“I just I believe in myself I guess,” he said with pride.

That belief is what has taken Wyatt from not being able to walk to pinning down his opponent.

“He’s always been a go getter, and that’s how he’s gotten as far as he has,” his mom said.

And while he’s gotten this far, there’s still plenty more to come. While he’s wrapping up his first season, he’s made it clear it won’t be his last.

“My goal is to win…as many matches as I can and get better,” he said of his future. “And hopefully one day…be the best.”

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