At 112 pounds, Kjar earned a spot at the freestyle Olympic qualifier after placing fourth at the Sunkist Kids International in the 55kg/112 pound weight class.
He earned his spot by being the highest non-qualified finisher in his weight class at the event in Mesa.
Kjar’s only defeats were to eventual winner and returning Olympic champ, Henry Cejudo, and Japan’s Kazuhide Tomita.
Kjar will next take the mat at the team trials held at the Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa on April 20-21.
Freestyle wrestling rounds are much like in volleyball. There are three two-minute rounds and the wrestler has to win two of the three rounds to win or win by pin.
If the period goes scoreless at 0-0 when time is up then the ref draws a colored ball out of a bag and whichever singlet correlates to the ball gets the advantage of locking the leg and starting from that position for the 30 second overtime.
“It’s a true blessing that I was able to qualify for the trials after the first tournament,” Kjar said. “Now knowing it’s official, I can open up a little more and make more mistakes in my matches. I don’t have to worry about qualifying anymore, that part is done. My main focus is making as many mistakes as I can now so I can get all the mistakes out of my system while it doesn’t matter.
“When the trials come in April I don’t want any of my unused mistakes to be coming out.....because April is performance time.
“Normal wrestlers see mistakes as a bad thing but every time I make a mistake I strive to look at it as getting one mistake closer to not making that same mistake again.”
Since freestyle wrestling is similar to the scoring in volleyball with the athlete needing to win two out of three rounds, Kjar said it’s important to get that first round win and keep the match in his control.
“I can see now how much easier it is to get that first round win,” Kjar said. “It’s much like life, if you put your fate in others’ hands, there is no certain outcome.
“I choose to take destiny in my own hands and run with it. I can see now that it’s a lot easier if you don’t let the periods come down to the luck of the draw. I learned a valuable lesson this week.”
Kjar knows he is carrying the dreams of many people, not just himself when he is training and when he hits the mats in April.
“I can’t tell you what it would mean for me to be able to represent USA, Utah, and my family and support group at the Olympic Games,” Kjar said. “I know now more than ever that I have the opportunity to achieve something that could impact my life forever.
“Nearly 29 years of blood, sweat, tears, and hard practices will be tested in the Carver Hawkeye Arena in Iowa the end of April,” he said. “I know when I arrive with the unconquerable spirit that’s ready to take on any foe that steps in my way of my life goal will be a mere obstacle that I’ll just have to go through.”
Kjar is still working to raise money for his Olympic path. He continues to do wrestling clinics and speak about how he has overcome many genetic obstacles in his life. He calls his speech “Face of a Champion.”
“I couldn’t have done any of this without the support of the people who surround me daily and believe in me,” he said. “I mean, really believe in me.”
Kjar can be reached at 801-381-0779 or at KingdomWrestling@gmail.com.