Delaney, the youngest Kilcarr child, is currently more interested in gymnastics, but McIntyre said that even if she doesn't want to try out for the team — and Donna is doing everything she can to encourage her daughter not to wrestle — she is welcome to be the team manager when she gets older, if she wants to be part of the family tradition.

"Team manager would be good," said Delaney, whose brothers refer to her as "our little gem" and "a toughie."

Patrick is proud of his children, but when asked if there has been a special moment he remembers — a match or a victory — that has made him particularly proud, the memories he shares are losses.

The elder Kilcarr said that society today seems to reward every child on a team just for showing up and he wants his kids to earn their respect, not just have it handed to them.


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"Losing, not getting what you want, is part of life and we have to deal with it with respect," Patrick said. "Wrestling teaches that and it carries over to the real world. Unless you're Cael Sanderson (who went 159-0 over four years at Iowa State), everybody loses. I want my kids to learn how to lose with honor and appreciate the opportunities they've had. If they win, they've earned it.

"Four years ago, at the [Maryland State Wrestling Association junior] states, Mason lost a match, as did Trent and Troy. Afterward, the father of another wrestler and the coordinator of the tournament wrote me a long letter about what fine young men my sons are. He admired the way they had slapped the other kids on the shoulder [in congratulations] as they had walked to shake the hands of the coaches. Their actions showed a deep respect for the other wrestler and the sport.

"It was very special to me, and I read the letter to them."

The family was introduced to the sport when Patrick, who wrestled in high school at Bishop O'Connell in Virginia in the 132- to 145-pound weight classes, started playing with his children on the living room floor. It was a tradition that continues to this day — now on the wrestling mat in the basement.

"They beat up on me," said Reese, the youngest son. "But it's always fun. It's a good beating up."

While all the boys have tried other sports — flag football, baseball, lacrosse — wrestling has always had their hearts.

"It started with Dad," Payton said. "He introduced us to the sport. Then I started wrestling when I was 5, and eventually wrestled with the Vipers. That's really when it all began. All of us really picked up on the discipline part and the team aspects."

Donna, who has been to countless matches since Payton first joined the Burtonsville Wrestling Club in 1992, said the sport suits her sons' personalities, and it has been a good character-building activity over the years.

"We should be wrapping it up in five more years, when Reese is done," she said, and then another realization struck. "Well, Mason is showing an interest in college wrestling. It would start a whole new path."

sandra.mckee@baltsun.com

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