RACHEL GREEN, TRUMPET GUEST WRITER
Kyle Briggs is no newcomer to the wrestling mat. Although the junior is ranked second in the nation at the 184-pound weight class, Briggs hit a major bump in the road his first year at Wartburg.
“My collegiate journey began a little bit rough,” Briggs, a 2019 all-American, said. “Right when I got on campus, basically a month into training, I had broken my ankle and was basically out for the year. [It affected] not only wrestling but academics and personal relationships and my general attitude towards wrestling and even school.”
Briggs finished third at 174 pounds last year at the national meet and was named the American Rivers Conference (A-R-C) MVP. The finish drives him toward higher expectations as he moves into a leadership role as an upperclassman.
“He works his butt off,” Alex Dolly, Wartburg head assistant wrestling coach, said. “He gets everything out of every second when he’s ever at a workout. I mean if he’s not wrestling in the match at the second, he’s on the bike, or preparing for the match or thinking about what he’s doing. He’s getting the most out of the drill.”
Briggs’ work ethic is not the only quality that stands out to coaches. He also brings the fun to every practice and competition and is known to breakdance in the wrestling room before meets, according to Dolly.
“He definitely is a constant reminder in the room that we’re all here because we enjoy the sport and it should be fun,” Dolly said. Although he has fun, Briggs takes his time on the mat seriously. “I wrestle because I want to win,” Briggs said. “I want to
win nationals and I don’t ever want to lose again.” His goal of a perfect season was tainted with a 4-3 loss to Augsburg’s Tanner Vassar on Jan. 11 at the National Wrestling Coaches Association National Duals in Louisville, Kentucky.
“At the end of the day my goals are not necessarily determined by one weekend at the end of the year,” Briggs said. “It’s how I train and become the athlete that I want to be.”
Briggs began the season ranked No. 2 at the 174-pound weight class, but after an early December switch to 184, Briggs is now ranked No. 2 at 184 pounds.
Kyle Briggs ’21 will look to avenge his lone defeat on the season against top-ranked Tanner Vassar at the 184-pound class. In the 2020 NWCA Championships, Vassar handed then No. 1 Briggs his first loss of the season by a 4-3 decision, and will look to do so again to cement his No. 1 ranking.
“We both know each other pretty well,” Briggs said of his rematch with Vassar. “We will want to play to our own strengths without letting our opponent get to theirs first. My guess is that this match will be wrestling through the entire seven minutes and neither of us will be looking to go out without being in a dog fight.”
The Battle of the Burgs will be hosted by Wartburg and take place at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 6. The meet will be streamed on Wartburg Knight Vision.