‘One more round’ for Sheffield’s Kyler
Freshman joins county wrestlers at regionals
Welcome back, Chase Kyler.
The Sheffield freshman will be joining teammates Ethan Finch, a senior, and Landon Mead, a junior, at today’s Northwest Region 2A wrestling tournament at Sharon High School.
Judging by a video of Chase working out at 6 a.m. Friday, upon hearing he’d be replacing an injured wrestler, he’s pretty excited about it.
“I was a bit surprised because it was on such short notice, but I am excited to see what I can do this weekend,” said Kyler, who finished fourth at 106 pounds at the District 9 2A Wrestling Championships. While four wrestlers have qualified for regions from District 9 in the past, only three from each weight class did in this strange COVID-restricted season.
Kyler, plus his head coach Jack Rice, is embracing the opportunity.
“My goals are just to wrestle calm and controlled and just leave everything out on the mat, regardless of the outcome,” said Kyler.
Rice, on the other hand, is quick to point out, no matter how Kyler finishes, this news is huge for his young wrestler’s development.
“He’s been one of my hardest workers in practice,” said Rice, adding that Kyler is 18-6 on his freshman season, and this experience will bode well for his next three years.
Future state medalist-type experience.
And why not dream big? Kyler is inspired by Finch, who finished sixth for a state medal at last year’s PIAA tournament at 182 pounds, and won his second D9 title this season at 189.
“This season has meant everything to me because two months ago we didn’t even know if we were going to have a season, so I am just thankful we made it this far,” said Kyler. “Ethan has taught me a lot; when I get frustrated at practice or a match, he is the first one to remind me about his freshman year, and to really just trust the process.”
Technically, Kyler has more wins (18) as a freshman than did Finch (16), who has gone on to become Sheffield’s all-time wins leader (105) as a senior. Kyler’s not falling for this reporter’s trick question.
“Yes, I do realize I have more wins as a freshman than he did,” Kyler said. “But not really thinking about having the most wins; I am just playing it by week, and trying to improve as much as possible.”
The fraternity of regional qualifiers Kyler is joining is unique in that it’s the first time three Sheffield High School wrestlers have advanced under coach Rice. The coach sees this program on the upswing, with the potential for multiple state qualifiers or even medalists in the near future.
“I used to wrestle at a young age and then I quit to try basketball for a couple years, and then came back my seventh-grade year,” said Kyler. “My eighth-grade year, I started the season but, a few practices in, I injured my knee and couldn’t complete the season. I have a lot more passion and motivation now. Ever since I got my first pin, I have wanted to win more and more every day.”
Regional action (Districts 9 and 10) gets underway at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Sharon High School. Kyler (106 pounds), Mead (160), and Finch (189) will join Youngsville High School senior Collin Clough (145), and Eisenhower junior Cael Black (215) and senior Easton Hedman (138) from D10.