Donnie Horner – who is in Oklahoma City this weekend taking part in the USA Wrestling Junior Duals, a Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling tournament, with a group of Missouri all-star wrestlers – is in line to represent the United States in the Cadet Pan American Wrestling Championships in Manus, Brazil, on July 16-17.

Donnie Horner has the perfect mantra for success.

“Shoot for the moon and land somewhere in the stars,” Horner, a Blue Springs wrestler and football player, said of setting goals for his upcoming senior year. “I kind of like to set unrealistic goals to push myself.”

Horner – who is in Oklahoma City this weekend taking part in the USA Wrestling Junior Duals, a Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling tournament, with a group of Missouri all-star wrestlers – is in line to represent the United States in the Cadet Pan American Wrestling Championships in Manus, Brazil, on July 16-17.

Earlier this summer, Horner, wrestling at 215 pounds, placed fifth in freestyle wrestling and sixth in Greco at the FILA USA Wrestling National Championships in Akron, Ohio, to qualify for the Pan Am tournament.

“It felt really good, but I didn’t even know I qualified until like a couple of weeks after when I got an e-mail saying that they need representation at 215 (pounds) – well, 220 because they go by kilograms in foreign weights,” Horner said. “I was totally surprised.”

To help offset the cost of the trip to Brazil, Horner’s family is hosting a Texas Hold ’Em tournament at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Elks Lodge No. 2509 at 100 NE Brizendine Road in Blue Springs.

“We’re hoping for 50 people – maybe more,” Horner’s mother, Connie, said, adding Blue Springs head coach Mike Hagerty has also signed a letter of recommendation in support of the Horner’s fundraising efforts. “We’ve had a few responses from the letters we’ve sent out.”

Horner has had an eventful summer to say the least. In the mornings, he works out with the Wildcat football team as an offensive and defensive lineman, then spends the afternoons being a normal teenager. At night Horner practices his craft of wrestling.

“I got like from noon to 6 to be a normal kid,” Donnie Horner said, before adding he also spends time in the afternoon practicing with the Blue Springs High School cheerleading squad. “There were some girls on the cheerleading team – in order for them to go to nationals they have to have so many guys on the team – they just ask and I was like, ‘Sure, I’ll be there.’

“As it turns out, I can’t cheerlead anymore because cheerleading nationals is like the same time as wrestling districts in February.”

Connie Horner said her son has managed the hectic schedule well.

“He’s a typical teenage kid, but he works hard,” she said.

In the meantime, Donnie Horner said he has high expectations for the wrestling tournament in Brazil.

“Hopefully, I’ll get a couple of gold medals,” Horner said.

When talk turns to Horner’s upcoming senior season, he again talks of walking on the moon. A state medalist last season for the Wildcats at 215 pounds, Horner will move up to heavyweight this upcoming season. He also started for the Wildcats Class 6 state runner-up football team.

“I want to be a state champion,” Horner said. “You can’t leave Blue Springs a heavyweight and not be a state champion. You kind of got that legacy in the heavyweight spot. You at least have to be in the finals.

“In football, I want to be all-state – I don’t know, I don’t see it happening, but I like to set unrealistic goals.”