Austin Denton | Journalism
Imagine yourself in the Santa Ana Star Center, one of the biggest sport venues in the state of New Mexico. It is time for your biggest and final wrestling match of your high school career. Once you get on that mat, it all comes down to this moment. Pressure is on, with media watching. Then in 31 seconds, you make history.
This is exactly what happened to Kyle Snelling of La Cueva High School on Feb. 20, becoming the first ever three-time state champion in school history. “It was always hard, especially this match, not to feel the atmosphere going into the event.” Snelling said when talking about the nerves he might have had. “I felt confident going into the match and just felt ready to go.”
But he had to get his start somewhere. Snelling’s father brought Kyle into the wrestling world as a youngster. “My dad was a wrestler at Eldorado High School. He loved the sport and once he showed me what the sport was like, I immediately gained interest.” Even though Kyle’s father did not have as many accomplishments as he does now, Kyle says he couldn’t thank his father enough for bringing him to the sport.
He started wrestling his freshman year and won state championships his sophomore, junior, and senior year. And with all those wins gained local media attention like nobody’s business. Snelling said, “I think it’s awesome. It’s kind of neat to get recognition for the hard work you put in.” In a recent article Andy Morgan, formerly with KOB Channel 4 Sports, writes that Snelling has only lost three matches in his high school career and that could be a big reason why this attention has been gained.
When asking Kyle about who he wanted to thank for this journey, he said, “All my coaches, training partners, and my family. They have stood by me this entire journey and that’s a great thing to know.” He also mentioned that it was bittersweet since it was his last match ever in high school.
In the match, Snelling defeated Robert Cote of West Mesa High School by pin at :31 seconds in the match, finishing with a record of 44-1 the entire season.