High School Wrestling: Monroe senior trying to make up for lost time on mat

Monroe High School senior Kyle Mink dabbled in wrestling in the second grade before quitting. He picked it up again as a sophomore, but he wouldn’t mind forgetting that year, too.

“Terrible,” Mink said of his sophomore season that ended with an injury.

But two years later, Mink has stuck with the sport he now loves. And he wishes he’d done it sooner.

“Yes, almost every day I think about that,” Mink said during a break at the Division II sectional wrestling tournament at Clinton-Massie High School.

»RELATED: Saturday’s high school roundup

“Every day I just want to get better so I can finally get (to state).”

Mink improved his chances with a runner-up finish Saturday. He reached the 152-pound title match before dropping an 8-4 decision to Badin senior Ethan Emmons.

Mink (32-7) qualified for the D-II district tournament along with seven other Hornets, including individual champion Caleb Thomas at 106. Monroe finished third in the 13-team field behind champion Ross and runner-up Clinton-Massie.

As for Mink, his career resumed after an innocent question from Monroe coach Shawn Thomas. Thomas was recruiting the halls and stopped by the cafeteria.

“He was asking kids questions like if anyone had ever wrestled. I thought I’d try it and here we are,” Mink said.

“Yeah, I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I was thinking do I want to do this? I ended up staying with it and I love it. Once I started to get a feel for it I wanted to get better and started putting in the work.”

That meant training trips to the Prodigy Wrestling Academy in Middletown. He wrestled live competition twice a week for about 90 minutes and quickly saw a difference.

“I saw improvement fast. You can practice with your partner all you want but you’re getting the same experience,” Mink said. “If you practice with different kids I feel like it makes you better. Even getting beat on is good, too.”

That hasn’t happened often this season.

“I just do what the coaches tell me,” Mink said. “They definitely know best.”

In addition to Mink and Thomas, teammates Cooper Campbell (113), Joseph Rivera (132), Sam Richards (138), Alex Pitsch (145), Sam Oaks (195) and Zach Hagedorn (285) also qualified for district.

Ross won the D-II sectional title with 204.5 points to top Massie’s 194.5. The Rams scored individual titles with senior Logan Bruns (113) and senior Alex Coleman (285). Freshman Jaiden Earls (106), senior Tyler Bruns (120), junior Ben Breaker (132), junior Sean Beltran (145), freshman Ryan Iams (160), junior Hayduke Hess (170), senior Mehki Bouldin (182), and junior Griffin Peacock qualified for district.

Badin’s qualifiers are Emmons, senior Cameron Lapthorn (160), Jake Rosser (220), junior Joseph Tri-Rudolf (126), sophomore Eli Emmons (170) and freshman Kaiden Starks (182).

Franklin won a pair of titles with junior Tyler Woods (126) and sophomore Gage Johnson (170). Gage Anderson (106), junior Zach Osborne (152) and senior Jared Kremer (195) also qualified for the Wildcats.

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