KYLE RHINE | Reporter
After competing at a high level in wrestling for three years, national championship-qualifying wrestler Kyle Jolas has decided to redshirt his senior year.
Normally in collegiate athletics, an athlete gets redshirted his or her freshman year because they need more time to develop, but since Jolas was the best wrestler for his spot, former head coach Chad Smith told him he was going to compete for the team.
Jolas has always had wrestling running through his veins as his father was a state qualifier, state placer in Illinois and was a division 1 wrestler. Jolas began wrestling when he was 4 years old and that led him to become a four-time state qualifier at Huntington North High School in Huntington, Indiana.
His father has made a big impact on him, and when Jolas loses a match, it affects him too.
“Sometimes I think he takes losses harder than I do,” Jolas said. “He knows I can be more successful.”
It is difficult for his father to make it to some of his matches since he has two other siblings, Kolin and Dharma, along with a job. But when his father asks him whether he should come to regionals or nationals, it’s an easy answer for Jolas.
“Come to nationals because everyone gets invited to regionals, but you have to qualify for nationals,” Jolas said.
The decision for Jolas to come to Lindenwood was made as soon as he walked through the wrestling room.
“When I walked through the wrestling room, seeing the list of all Americans, national champions, seeing all those guys and realizing that I could be a part of that,” Jolas said.
Jolas will be starting his masters in higher education in January while graduating with his undergrad in exercise science in May 2018.
As a freshman, Jolas took fifth at regionals and placed second in the MIAA tournament at 165-pound division.
In his sophomore campaign, he led the team with 28 victories while posting a 28-10 record and qualified for the NCAA Division II National Championships. In his junior year, he qualified for the second straight year for nationals while earning a spot on the MIAA Academic Honor Roll.
Now, after three highly successful seasons, Jolas has decided to redshirt his senior year.
“Nobody wants to sit out a year after being in the lineup for three years,” Jolas said. “It came down to be a part of bettering myself and putting the team before me.”
Head coach Jimmy Rollins believes Jolas can get where he wants to be and taking a year off can benefit him in the long run.
“Kyle can continue to train and prepare, as he has been just off being an NCAA All-American for two years,” Rollins said. “So being able to take the time to work on some of those things that we need to clean up and get better mentally will help propel him to move forward in his career.”
In his third season, Jolas found himself only one take down away from standing on the podium at the NCAA Division II National Championships.
Jolas continues to train on keeping the pace up, getting to his ties with hard hand-fighting and scoring to the opposite side and ultimately breaking down his opponent.
“I think this redshirt is just going to let him clean up some of the small things,” Rollins said. “It’s nothing big that Kyle needs to improve on; it’s the tiniest of little things for him to be able to reach his goal.”
Jolas has been a team captain for three years, and although he won’t be hitting the mat this season, he still has major leadership responsibilities on the team.
“I will still be a leader in the room, leading by example, and leading with my words,” Jolas said.
A former Lindenwood wrestler and two-year teammate of Jolas, Dillion Archer acknowledged how much of a leader Jolas is.
“It was just kind of neat to watch how he became more and more of a leader every day,” Archer said.
The biggest difference for Jolas and the team this season is that although he will continue training with the team inside and out of practices, he will not be traveling with the team.
This will allow Jolas to take a step back in practice to catch the little things he can improve on for next season.
“I don’t want to beat opponents by one. I want to go out there and put points on the board.”
Jolas is always looking for ways to improve his game and knows he can do more. By taking this season off, Jolas believes it will help elevate his game and earn more points on the mat.
“Winning by one point it doesn’t sit well with me,” he said. “I don’t want to beat opponents by one. I want to go out there and put points on the board.”
By redshirting his senior year, Jolas will have more time to train for where he wants to be.
“My goal is never to win a national title; my goal is to do everything in my power to make sure my goal is as close to reach or reached.”