By Mike Beas
Kysen Montgomery wasn’t about to let three walks to and from the awards podium define his high school wrestling career.
A state finals medalist in each of his previous trips to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, the Brownsburg senior was unwavering when it came to his pursuit of an individual state championship.
On the night of Feb. 20, Montgomery punctuated a 31-3 season, defeating Evansville Mater Dei senior Alec Freeman, 2-1, in the title match at 132 pounds. A fifth-place finisher at 106 as a freshman, fourth at 120 as a sophomore and third at 126 last season, Montgomery literally saved his best for last.
“I think he’s the third wrestler in school history to (medal all four years). It’s very difficult to do, but to top it all off with a state championship is ridiculous, especially in his weight class,” said Bulldogs coach Darrick Snyder. “Kysen’s division returned nine state placers this season. It’s the hardest weight class at the state finals.
“But Kysen has trained his entire career to be a state champion, and he has ice in his veins. I’m getting chills just talking about it. It was awesome.”
Montgomery finished his Brownsburg career with a record of 142-25. His defeat of Freeman marks the sixth consecutive season at least one Bulldogs wrestler has won state. Snyder’s squad placed sixth in the final team standings with 56.5 points.
Montgomery did a Q&A with ICON:
Q: How does it feel to be referred to as a state champion?
A: It feels amazing. I went there every year thinking I could win. It’s definitely a big accomplishment. Toward the end of the season I started to get my confidence back. In the years past, the (finals) atmosphere was definitely different. This year I was able to just collect myself and focus. That might have been harder to do with a big crowd.
Q: What drew you to wrestling in the first place, and how old were you when you started?
A: I started when I was 4. My dad got me into it because all the wrestling I knew at that point was WWE. My oldest brother Brayden wrestled for Danville High School and was a state finalist his senior season. It’s an individual sport, so it’s whoever is better is going to win the match.
Q: Which are the college wrestling programs showing the most interest in you at this time, and what do you plan to major in?
A: Marian University, Campbell University (in Buies Creek, N.C.) and North Central College (Naperville, Ill.). I plan to major in psychology.
Q: Along with winning state, you were also named first team academic all-state with a 3.8 grade point average. What does this honor mean to you?
A: It shows an ability to multitask. It really takes a lot of focus.