7-year-old Avon Lake boy with autism earns first wrestling pin

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NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio — A 7-year-old boy with autism reached an amazing milestone during a wrestling match thanks to the help of his competition.

Connor Spiegel, of Avon Lake, wrestled the North Olmsted’s 6th grade youth wrestling captain, Ryan Kennedy, Thursday night at Avon Lake’s dual tournament.

Staff for both teams and a referee worked with Kennedy to help Spiegel get his first wrestling pin, according to his mom, Jillian Spiegel.

North Olmsted’s high school wrestling team had a match scheduled at Avon Lake High School and Avon Lake’s youth coach reached out to North Olmsted’s coach, Ricky Kelly, and asked if they would be interested in having the youth teams wrestle side by side against the high school teams, according to Cheron Kelly, director of the North Olmsted Youth League.

Kelly said the coaches agreed to try to do an even match-up between the athletes, and then Connor, who competes in the All-Star beginner’s division came into play.

“Knowing his situation our coach suggested Ryan Kennedy, our captain and a sixth grader, be permitted to wrestle with Connor and he would help him along during the match. The rest is history,” Kelly told FOX 8.

After he earned the pin, Spiegel stood up with a big smile and covered his mouth in disbelief.

“This was one of the best days of our family’s life!” Jillian told FOX 8, “And, we sincerely thank everyone involved in giving our son his magical moment.”

Jillian said this was Connor’s first year wrestling and he has worked extremely hard for this moment.

“We are extremely proud of him and all his accomplishments,” she said.

Connor has been accepted to take part in the Wrestle Against Autism tournament in Westerville, Ohio, this upcoming April.

**The video in this story was provided to FOX 8 by the North Olmsted Youth League**

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