CARLSBAD, N.M. (KRQE) – He was a national wrestling champion. A 9-year-old Carlsbad boy had hopes of wrestling in the Olympics, but a tragic accident last week ended his life too soon.
Coaches, family members and teammates all say Kaleb “Georgie” Bindel was an inspiration to others on and off the mat. Kaleb, known to friends and family as “Georgie Box,” was a wrestling champion at age 9, representing the Carlsbad Cavemen.
“He planned on going to college on wrestling, and wrestling for the Olympics, for the United States,” Radell Box, Georgie’s uncle and wrestling coach.
But last week, a tragic playground accident in his backyard ended Georgie’s life. His family asked not go into detail about what happened.
“He was taken away from us way too early,” said Radell Box.
This week, Georgie’s life is celebrated. He was notorious for his sportsmanship on and off the mat. Win or lose, friends and family said he’d embrace his opponents.
“Whether the kid was real interested in getting a hug or not, Kaleb would grab him and snatch him up and give them a great big hug,” recalled Box. Georgie would even offer opponents advice after a match. “I’ve heard him tell them many times, ‘you’re gonna lose a lot, but keep practicing, keep wrestling and you’ll get there,’ ” Georgie’s uncle recalled.
The third-grader made friends while wrestling around the state. He was a dedicated athlete, putting in hours of practice a day.
“Georgie spent more hours up in that room than most of my high school kids,” said Ryan Salcido, Head Wrestling Coach at Carlsbad High.
Salcido often used the 9-year-old to teach his wrestlers. “His competitiveness and his drive was like no other,” Salcido said.
Salcido would train Georgie along with high school wrestlers during school breaks. Video shows Georgie training with a 25-pound plate on his back up a two-and-a-half mile trail.
Georgie competed in tough obstacle course races against kids much older. Sixty-one pounds of muscle, Georgie took home national wrestling titles.
“Georgie was on my team and he made coaching pretty easy, he made me look really good,” Salcido chuckled.
Those who knew him say Georgie’s passion and strength was inspirational.
“It was always such a rush to be in his corner,” Box explained. “I’ve lost my voice many times with that boy,” Box chuckled, recalling how loudly family cheered for Georgie during matches.
The Carlsbad Cavemen wrestling team plan to continue his legacy. This Saturday, Carlsbad is hosting the district duels. Coaches plan on inducting Georgie into the caveman wrestling wall of fame.
Georgie’s family said members of the wrestling community are reaching out for support, some from out of state, and some have offered to just help around the house. His funeral services were Wednesday afternoon.