SHINGLE SPRINGS — Kyle Jennings had something to prove on the wrestling mat.
The Ponderosa High grappler recently won the national championship of the 220-pound class for sophomores at the National High School Coaches Association Grade Level National Championships held in Virginia Beach, Va.
The sophomore won the title with a 3-2 overtime decision over Kyle Mann from Columbus, Fla. to finish with a perfect 5-0 record at the tourney.
“It was fairly tough … it was a good tournament,” Jennings said. “He (Mann) was a tough wrestler.”
Since the end of the high school wrestling season, Jennings has competed in four tournaments. After a strong season that had him advance to the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters meet, Jennings, who posted a 33-12 record, “wants to get better” for next season.
“Kyle was a little disappointed how his season ended this year,” Ponderosa head coach Tyson Escobar said. “He wanted to qualify for the State Wrestling tournament in a typically dominated Senior weight division. It didn’t happen, so he has dedicated himself to wrestling in the spring and getting better for the upcoming season.”
Prior to the tourney, Jennings wrestled at the SCWAY Grade State tournament where he earned took first place. Then he made a trip to Virginia Beach and tested his wrestling skills with the rest of the sophomores in the country.
“This mat time and experience cannot be duplicated,” Escobar said. “The hard work and time is starting to pay off.”
Jennings is a two-sport athlete; he is preparing for his second season as a lineman on the Ponderosa football team.