The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

March 2, 2014

STATE WRESTLING CHAMPION

Kyle Conel earns first title in Lakeside’s history

COLUMBUS — Kyle Conel wanted to leave a legacy for the younger generation of wrestlers at Lakeside. After going undefeated a year ago until he lost in the state championship match, he felt he had but one thing to do as a senior to cement that legacy.

Conel won the state championship at 195 pounds in the Division I portion of the 77th Ohio State Wrestling Tournament on Saturday night to complete a 53-0 season.

He is the first state wrestling champ in the history of Ashtabula Area City Schools.

“I knew it was mine,” he said. “I couldn’t let (losing the state championship match) happen. I couldn’t let it happen twice in a row. I’m going to be feeling this in the morning. The adrenaline is pumping.”

It’s not a  bad finish  to a  career

that didn’t start until the 7th grade.

“As a little kid I had never wrestled,” the son of Michael Conel and Luetta Miller said. “I didn’t win a match until Jerry (Brady) coached me in the 8th grade. I didn’t believe I wouldn’t accomplish anything in wrestling.

“My mom said (not winning a match in 7th grade) taught me humility.

“It did.”

Conel beat TeGray Scales of Cincinnati Colerain, 3-2, to win the title.

Conel wrestled a slower match, more cerebral match than is his usual style and was down, 1-0, to start the third period, but Scales let him go to knot the score, 1-1.

“My approach was to be smart,” he said. “I couldn’t put myself in bad situations. I had to be a little more confident.”

Conel then went on the offensive and was about to score a takedown near the edge of the mat, but Scales was called for fleeing the mat and it was a 2-1 lead for the Dragon.

Conel’s final point came when scales was called for stalling for the second time. The first was when the grapplers were called for a double-stall early on.

“We’d been discussing how the other guys hadn’t been coming at him, but waiting for him to make a mistake,” Lakeside coach Jim Brady said. “He was aggressive to a point, but he didn’t overreact. He let his opponent bring the match to him a little bit. It was a very smart match.”

Conel was hit with a stalling with less than a minute to go, but it did little damage as he was able to run out the clock.

As his hand was raised, Conel turned to where his family was sitting with an ear-to-ear grin, pointed and waved. He shook the hands of the Colerain coaching staff, then ran and leaped into Brady’s arms, nearly knocking him to the mat.

“It was a bit gut-wrenching,” Brady said. “My brother should have been the one down here. He should have tasted this, not myself. I’m glad he was here. It was unfortunate he couldn’t be around Kyle.

“By the way, he is a load.”

“I hope this means the world to (Jim and Jerry Brady and assistant Kelly Prine),” Conel said. “Hopefully they’ll look back and cherish this.

“It’s not about the wins between, it’s about the memory we just made.”

Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.

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