Wrestling Duo Making a Mark at National Level
In a strong fall season, Woodward’s wrestling team has notched one particularly remarkable achievement: The team has two juniors both ranked as the No. 1 juniors nationally in their respective weight classes.
“We’ve never had two kids ranked number one,” said Jeff Ragan, the wrestling coach.
Until now. Michael Kilic and Matthew Singleton have put together a strong series of matches, including both placing in the top three in Super 32, the most competitive tournament in the country. Ragan said it was the first time any Woodward wrestler had placed at the event. That vaulted Michael and Matthew to the top of the ranks of juniors, and both rank top five nationally among all ages.
Kilic credited the coaches and his training partner for the duo’s success. It turns out, having to train against one of the best in the country is great practice.
“I want to be the best, and in order to do that I have to train the hardest,” Kilic said. “I have to train my mentality and be tougher as a wrestler. The great coaching staff at Woodward is pushing my success, and also having Matthew as my partner gets me better every single day.
“We just keep pushing each other every day getting better on the mat.”
The two have been friends since they were 7, and so they said they have a long history together through success and failure, and lots of hard work.
“Both of us being able to be successful at the same time just really gives off appreciation for what we know we’ve done,” Matthew said. “The goal is the same as always—work hard and compete my best. Individually I’d also like to go undefeated this season, along with getting another state team title.”
Michael also set his goal at going undefeated and winning some national tournaments.
While the pandemic has impacted training a little, both wrestlers had been able to enjoy a mostly normal season.
“If anything it gave me more time to train,” Michael said. “It was a little harder training with other wrestlers, but I eventually got my time in with other wrestlers in the community.”
Matthew said that the period of time in the spring when tournaments shut down allowed him a window to prepare with more focus, knowing that he would be ready for when competitions resumed. What kept him motivated during those months?
“In past years, I’ve often had the underdog mentality, and being unnoticed kept me motivated,” Matthew said. “Now that I’m an upperclassman and pretty experienced, I don’t really have that same kind of pressure anymore, but I pretend I still do.”
Something makes us think that his competitors don’t see him as an underdog any more.