COLUMBIA — Flowers stuck out of the backpack behind Cheryl Kyle in the stands. Her son, Matt Kyle, is a senior wrestler at Hickman High School, and Wednesday was Senior Night.
She snapped photos every chance she could during her son’s last match at home, even though it wasn't always pretty.
Matt lost 19-2 to Mexico’s Brit Wilson in the 145-pound weight class. Cheryl, as mother's typically are, was still proud.
“A little bit emotional,” she said.
Hickman lost the dual to Mexico by a final of 57-15.
Losing has become standard to the Kewpies this season. The team hasn’t won a match. Head coach J.D. Coffman attributes some of that to only having nine wrestlers in his program, including junior varsity.
“Seniors are good to have,” Coffman said. “And it definitely makes you more competitive if they’ve been around for a while, but it’s not the reason why we’re not winning duals. We just don’t have enough kids to fill all the weight classes.”
One senior, Jacob Sapp, had to quit wrestling because of shoulder injuries and has become the team’s manager, Coffman said. Senior Eli Kellenberger dropped his dual to Mexico's Jadin Taylor in the 138-pound weight class.
Hickman freshman Jude Barrett defeated Dalton Logerman at 160 pounds, but then the meet was over. Why? The Kewpies had to forfeit at 170 pounds, 182 pounds, 195 pounds, 220 pounds and heavyweight.
“We’ve had a lot of kids quit," Coffman said. "We’ve had a lot of kids quit and for various different reasons — academics, couldn’t make it in academics and had to find jobs to work. So, there’s lot of different excuses.”
The remaining nine wrestlers have made no excuses, though, including Kyle.
“He’s dressed at 132, 138 and 145. And he just keeps showing up and going to practice," Kyle's mother said. "You know, as long as he’s still having fun, and he’s still having a good time doing it.”
After the meet, the Kewpies met down the hall for cupcakes and punch. Cheryl Kyle took more photos of Matt, Kellenberger and Sapp in the gym. Sapp and Kyle hoisted Kellenberger on their shoulders. The three boys laughed and jabbed.
Even winless seasons include some joy.