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Graham High School wrestling standout Kyle Ryan (H.M. @ 171) won a state championship as a sophomore, then failed to get back atop the podium as a junior or senior.

But just when it looked like Ryan?s prep career would end on a downswing, he instead added an exclamation point.

Ryan finished eighth and became a High School All-American at last weekend?s National High School Coaches Association Senior Nationals in Virginia Beach, Va.

?I?d definitely say it was (redemption),? said Ryan. ?If I could have won state (in March) and not been injured, I probably wouldn?t have gone (to last weekend?s nationals). But I did just to show everybody that I didn?t peak at the high school level as a sophomore.?

Ryan went 5-3 for the tourney in a weight class that totaled 53 wrestlers.

?You had to have been in the finals of your own state tournament at some point in your high school career just to qualify,? said Mike Ryan, Kyle?s father and an assistant coach at Graham.

He wrestled at the 160 weight class after going 171 all prep season.

?I could have been 160 this year, but we decided I?d help the team to go to 171 because I was built bigger from the start (than 160-pounder Isaac Jordan(H.M. @ 160),? said Ryan. ?It was kind of like being at my normal weight class. Being at home.?

If it weren?t for tearing the lateral collateral ligament in a knee in the All-American championship round, he may have placed higher.

For Complete Article by Kermit Rowe, Springfield News-Sun