After a long day of practice, Penn wrestling coach Rob Eiter sometimes comes home to find that his living room has turned into a wrestling mat.
No, he’s not running two-a-days for his team, nor is he imagining things.
Rather, his two children, Stella and Troy, have decided to playfully square up against one another.
Despite the age difference — Stella is six, while Troy is just 20 months old — the matchup is not all that lopsided because both are in the same weightclass, Eiter says.
However, the two young grapplers share something far more important in common: they were both adopted by Rob and wife Courtenay.
Stella was welcomed with open arms into the Eiter family just four years ago, after being adopted from a Chinese orphanage. Next came Troy, who was adopted locally from Camden, N.J., this past October — the very same day that Rob was officially named Penn’s head coach.
And while the Chinese adoption process may have been extensive — it took two years from start to finish to adopt Stella — there was never any doubt in the family’s mind about their life-changing decision.
“We always wanted to [adopt],” Rob said. “It was just something that we had always talked about since we were dating and then got married.”
Courtenay’s interest in adoption was sparked by her own family circumstances. Her brother was adopted, as well as several other members of her family, and she has seen firsthand the benefits.
“I think the one thing that I always thought was … not just how nice it was for the children to come from a negative situation into a positive situation, but how nice it was for the parents … to grow their family that way,” she said.
Rob and Courtenay are “extremely grateful” for Stella and Troy, who have already formed a great relationship.
“She’s a true big sister,” Rob said. “When they see each other, they get pretty excited.”
The duo also gets pretty excited about wrestling and the perks that come along with being the children of the head coach at a Division I school.
“Being in the coaching industry, they get to go a lot of places and we take them to as many tournaments and matches as they can,” Courtenay said.
In fact, Stella spent her first week in America going to wrestling practice with her father.
It took only 10 days in the States for her to attended her first NCAA Wrestling Championships.
And while Stella enjoys watching her favorite wrestlers practice and compete, she also relishes the wide-open, playful atmosphere that the wrestling room at Hutchinson Gymnasium offers.
“She likes coming in here and watching because … it’s a big playroom for her,” Rob said.
“She’s a pretty good little gymnast, so she does all her cartwheels and stuff and she climbs the ropes.”
Troy has also taken a liking to his father’s sport.
“Little Troy, he’s already cheering for certain wrestlers by name, which is crazy,” Courtenay said.
Nevertheless, Courtenay believes that it hasn’t been so much the wrestling that has made an impact on Stella and Troy, but rather the people that they have been exposed to during their time at Penn.
“I feel very grateful that they are around such bright, hardworking people all the time,” Courtenay added.
“It’s a very nice way to be able to raise your kids.”Comments powered by Disqus
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