Senior Spotlight: Kyle Hefley, Iowa City High

By Joshua Swafford for The Predicament

When did you start wrestling? Who introduced you to the sport?

I started wrestling in Kindergarten.  My parents signed me up to try a new activity.

Do you have any family who wrestled before you? How did they do?

My grandpa (Richard Gordon) wrestled for City High in the 1960's. He was a two time state qualifier. The first time I walked into the City High Wrestling room for MatPac practice my mom showed me his name on the wall. I said, “I want my name on that wall, too!”

Did you catch on to wrestling quickly or was it a gradual process?

It was a process.

What club did you wrestle for growing up and how would you describe your experience with the club?

I wrestled for Iowa City MatPac. It was a great experience and I couldn't have asked for a better club to learn from. I would call it more of a family than a club. During matches if a coach couldn't get to a mat, a dad or two would be in the corner, and often many of my teammates would be in the corner cheering me on too.

I have a couple nephews who live in the Iowa City High school district. They are just about at the age to start wrestling. Would you recommend the Iowa City High Matpac Club for them? How influential were the coaches in that program for you?

ABSOLUTELY I would recommend MatPac! My coaches helped form the person I am today. The MatPac Coaches now, Marcus Kurtz and Matt Egeland are great with the youth. They build strong relationships and help the wrestlers believe in themselves.

What are a couple memorable moments from youth wrestling?

-State Runner Up in 4th grade. Lance Runyon beat me 6-4.

-Team tournament in Washington, Iowa where every MatPac wrestler took 1st or 2nd place. It was the first time we won a team trophy!

-Kingsport AAU National Duals in 5th grade. It was the first time wrestling with Team Iowa. We would go to Denver, Iowa every Friday night after school to work out to get ready for that tournament. It was the first of many great Team Iowa events and the start of life long friendships.

-8th grade AAU National Dual Championship team.

How did you finish at state tournaments in youth?

-PeeWee State 4th

-AAU State 2nd, 5th, 3rd

What are some of your more memorable moments from high school wrestling?

The first time City High beat cross town rival West High in 15 years (and we beat them all 4 years of my high school career). Another one is qualifying for State Duals.

How did you finish at the state tournaments you wrestled in at the HS level?

2X state qualifier, but unfortunately came up short of placing.

Who were your wrestling heroes growing up?

Brent Metcalf and Tony Ramos.

Was there ever a point in your career where you noticed yourself jumping levels and making huge strides?

In 3rd/4th grade things started clicking and I began realizing that I would have to qualify to make it to state. In 11th grade it was like a switch flipped on this year. Everything was clicking...weight management, hitting my shots, mindset, etc.

Who were some of your toughest competitors in HS?

Harlan Steffensmier, Nelson Brands, Ryker Kurminski, Lance Runyon, etc.

What are your wrestling goals now that you are moving on from high school?

To make the starting line up as a freshman in college and to qualify for the Division III National Championship Tournament.

How would you describe your wrestling style? Who would you compare yourself to?

I wrestle my way. Wrestle hard, wear the opponent down and dominate.

Do you have any regrets from wrestling or did you leave it all out there?

I have no regrets.

What other sports do you play and how have you done at them?

Football all 4 years (2 year varsity starter- linebacker /D-line) and Track.

What are some of your hobbies besides wrestling?

Building things and fishing.

What is some of the best advice you ever received?

Wrestle your way. If something doesn't go your way, breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Do you have any advice for up and coming wrestlers?

Wrestle your way and don't try to wrestle someone elses match.

What is your favorite style of wrestling? Folkstyle, Freestyle or Greco?

Folkstyle is my favorite.

Who were some of the most influential coaches you worked with?

Cory Connell, Morgan DePrenger, Tyler Nixt and Dusty Coufal.

What are your college plans? Is wrestling in your future whether it be competing or coaching?

I will be wrestling at Central College in Pella. I am so excited to be able to continue my wrestling career. As far as coaching, I could see myself working with a youth club in the future.

What is the future outlook for Iowa City High?

They will be a strong team down the road . There are a lot of good incoming freshmen as well as strong upperclassmen this year. Wood-Findley, Bormann, Caven , Hayden, Abdallah will be the strong leaders for the seniors. Keep an eye out for Newton, Mitchell, Kueter within the younger guys. The Junior High and Matpac are loaded as well. City High has a bright future!