Kyle Schmidt decided to give football a try again his senior season.
After not playing since his freshman year, the returning state placer in wrestling thought it would be nice to play football his last year at Miamisburg High School.
Then, in one of Miamisburg’s scrimmage, Schmidt tore his ACL and suddenly the wrestling season was in doubt.
But Vikings coach Willie Wineberg was already hatching a plan to get his 182 pounder back on the mat.
“As soon as I heard about the knee, I started thinking about things that he could do as he came back that wouldn’t put much strain on his injury,” Miamisburg coach Willie Wineberg said. “Swimming was one of those activities.”
Wineberg approached Miamisburg swim coach Jason Shade and asked if he could help out.
Then, he had to sell it to Schmidt.
“I have never done competitive swimming before,” Schmidt said. “At first, I wasn’t sure about it, but it ended up going really well.”
Shade gave Schmidt no special treatment. Schmidt was doing continous freestyle drills with no kicking until January. By the time he was cleared to go back to wrestling, Schmidt was swimming with the distance competitors, putting in roughly 4,000 yards a night.
“He blended right in and took off so to speak,” Shade said. “My only concerns were the first few days worrying about Kyle slipping on the pool deck and reinjuring himself. That part of it scared me. ”
Since his return to the mat, Schmidt is 17-0.
“I helped a ton with my cardio. I wouldn’t have been in nearly as good of shape,” Schmidt said. “I came back stronger than I expected or anyone else expected.”
The hard part for Schmidt was watching his team compete without him through the first half of the season. When he did return, there was apprehension.
“My first match I was a little nervous,” Schmidt said. “But it didn’t hurt at all and I got more confidence in it. When I had no pain, it boosted my confidence a lot.”
While it is hard to consider sitting half of your senior season as a positive, there could end up being one.
“Kyle’s body is not as beat up as it would be if wrestling through a full season,” Wineberg said. “This could be a positive as we get into the postseason. Only the end result of his season will tell.”
New route: Bellbrook and Wilmington will face different routes through the postseason.
Instead of being in either of the Division II Tipp sectionals, the Eagles and Hurricanes will be at Washington Court House for sectionals this weekend in a combined Southeast/Southwest sectional.
The move means a showdown between Bellbrook’s Cameron Kelly and Graham’s Eli Seipel at 126 will have to wait for the district and state meets.
CJ also is taking a new direction this year, moving from Division II to Division III. The Eagles are in the Milton-Union sectional.