Just nine months ago, Kyle Conel shocked the college wrestling world when he finished as Kent State’s first unseeded all-American.
Now, his future on the mat is uncertain.
The senior 197-pounder announced on Twitter his season has ended. He will be getting shoulder surgery that will sideline him the rest of the season.
I’ve been battling with an injury for awhile. I should have had it checked out sooner but I didn’t. I’ve decided to choose my health and will be undergoing surgery that will end my season. I will be reevaluating my future in this sport and am doubtful I will continue after this.
— Kyle Conel (@KyjorRL) December 10, 2018
Conel was the second-ranked wrestler at his weight class in the country. He finished third at nationals last year after fighting his way through the pigtail round and knocking off Ohio State’s then-No. 1 seed Kollin Moore twice. Conel’s finish was the second-highest in Kent State history, and one of the largest upsets in recent collegiate wrestling memory.
Conel sported a 6-1 record at nationals, including two pins. He finished last season with a 30-11 record.
Conel had high hopes for the season, eyeing a national title, but the shoulder injury he suffered months ago continued to bother him heading into the season. He wrestled twice during the team’s home matches this year. During the first match, he beat Lindsay Wilson’s Lucas Miozza, 20-4. In his second — and final — match of the year, he bested California State, Bakersfield’s Mark Penyacsek, 9-8.
Conel’s future in wrestling is yet to be determined, but he said he is “doubtful (he) will continue after this.”
Ian Kreider is the sports editor. Contact him at [email protected]