Crestwood's Dylan Kager wants state championship to complete wrestling legacy

By Colin Harris | Staff Writer Published:

At the risk of adding undue pressure, there really is not much left for Crestwood senior Dylan Kager to accomplish beyond a state championship.

Kager's current list of accolades is as long as it is unprecedented: He is a three-time Portage Trail Conference Tournament champion, a state-placer and Crestwood's career wins and single-season pin record holder.

Another championship at this weekend's league tournament would make him only the second-ever four-time champion, joining Coventry's Randy Henline (2007-10).

"I know that shooting for that fourth league championship is important to Dylan," Crestwood head coach Dave Wrobel said. "But his goals this season are much higher. He doesn't want to get on the podium at state, he wants to win it all."

A state championship in his final season would cement his legacy, but the 138-pounder is already among the finest competitors in Crestwood history.

Currently 30-0 on the season, Kager recently set the school's all-time wins record with his 145th victory, surpassing the mark set by recent graduate and 2011 171-pound state champion Cody Ryba, who is now wresting at Campbell University. Last season, Kager set the school's single-season mark for pins with 27 en route to a 43-4 overall record.

Kager set the school wins record at home -- a fact that meant a lot to the Crestwood standout.

"Winning the school record at home was pretty cool because there are a lot of people who don't really get to see me compete that much," Kager said. "There were a lot of school staff and people that I know there who don't normally go to our wrestling events."

When you work as hard as Kager does, all accomplishments are deserved and welcomed, but they are just stepping stones for what the senior truly has his heart seton.

"I'm trying to make sure I do everything right so I don't have any mistakes or regrets this season," Kager said. "The last few years, I knew I had the next season. This is my last chance (at a state title)."

Kager has attacked his senior season with the sort of schedule that will prepare him for Columbus.

At the Solon Comet Classic in late November, Kager took home the 138-pound championship. Along the way, the senior defeated a familiar foe in Ryan Skonieczny of St. Vincent-St. Mary. Kager defeated Skyler Terrell from Parkersburg, West Virginia, who is considered one of the top grapplers in his class from the state.

"Skonieczny beat me three times before, so it was great to finally beat him in the semis," Kager said. "That meet was tough competition, but it's the kind of competition I'm going to see (in Columbus)."

Wrobel said that his senior standout has cranked up the intensity even more in recent weeks as the last month of the season comes into view.

"He's been turning it up in practice the last month or so, because he knows he has a good a shot as anyone of winning a title at 138," Wrobel said. "He has let his actions speak for themselves lately.

"Dylan has improved his conditioning. He's been lifting harder and getting himself into great shape, because I think everything is sinking in for him," Wrobel said. "He just does not want to leave any stone unturned when it comes to winning a state championship."

Email: charris@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9447

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