Mountain Range High School wrestler Kyle Lewis had one last chance to compete as a high-school athlete earlier this month.
He was among the wrestlers to take part in the Colorado High School Coaches Association all-state games at Colorado State University-Pueblo.
“It was a very fun experience overall,” Lewis said. “ I got to meet some faces that I’ve wrestled for a long time and, mainly, having a team that was very conjoined after only one day of hanging out and talking.”
He and the rest of the wrestling contingent showed up June 9 for two practices. The dual meet was the next morning.
“The first practice was at 2. We arrived at 11, and that practice was purely wrestling on our feet,” he said. “The second practice was at 4, and this was meant to be a more laid-back dynamic. So, we started with a few games and then wrestled on the mat a bit. We were really busy the first day as well because we had pictures for all individual wrestlers at 3 — definitely a go-go-go pace.”
Lewis finished fourth at 132 pounds in this year’s state tournament, which was in February.
“It had been a while,” Lewis said. “It was not as big of a struggle for me as some of the other guys, though, because I had been in and out of the wrestling room and in the weight room very consistently. I was wrestling with a few different teams up until a few weeks before the all-state games, so I had some time to prepare but I was not expecting to wrestle in the 145-pound weight class. All the lifting bulked me up. This was different because I had never weighed close to 140 for my whole life, but it didn’t make too much of a difference.”
Lewis finished with a record of 39-10 this season.
“I went in just wanting to have fun, because we all knew there was not going to be lots of college scouts at all besides CSU-Pueblo,” Lewis said. “So, it just didn’t make any sense to go and give it 120% in practice, and most of the wrestlers understood that.”
Lewis wants to attend Northeastern Junior College in Sterling. He hasn’t decided on a major but wants to take some business classes “to get my feet wet into something that I want to do after college.”
“I do plan to wrestle at NJC, but, unfortunately, the coach gave away all the scholarship money to returning Plainsmen (the school’s mascot), so I am not going on a scholarship,” Lewis said. “My plan is to attend for two years, then transfer to a four-year college to get my bachelor’s degree.”
Lewis had some suggestions to improve the all-state games. One was to move the dates earlier in the year so college coaches could come and recruit. He also wondered about putting the wrestling mats on the football field. He’d have liked to see the cheerleaders at the dual meet, and he’d have preferred to know the makeup of each team before the dual meet began. As is true with other sports, wrestlers were paired up on teams regardless of the size of their school.
“They really worked hard to make sure that us, as seniors, had fun, and they really did make it an enjoyable experience. So they still did great, and staying in the dorms was also very fun,” Lewis said. “The college experience is completely what I imagined it as. But I did learn that if you meet the right people, then it can be a completely changed experience.”