Pine River student pursues state title

By John Raffel

Herald Review Sports Writer

LEROY -- Kyle Nixon is ready to have another big season on the mats for the Pine River Bucks. In fact, he’s pointing at a state title.

Nixon is at 135 this season compared to 125 a year ago when he placed seventh at the state finals. This is his junior season.

Moving up to a higher class could make it tougher for Nixon.

“It depends,” he said. “A whole bunch of guys move up weight classes and stay the same. There will be tough kids no matter where I go.”

Nixon was happy with his sophomore season.

“I did a lot of wrestling this offseason,” he said. “I wrestle between 40 and 50 matches this summer. That’s almost a full season.

“I feel I’m a lot better, especially on my feet. I feel that I’ll be able to compete for a state title this year. I need to be more offensive on my feet and be in better shape than everyone I wrestle.”

The season is a week old. The Bucks won the Meridian Invitational Saturday.

“I want to win a state title,” Nixon said. “I don’t need to go undefeated. The goal is to go undefeated but I’m willing to take a few losses.  But I’m willing to take a few losses as long as I get a state title at the end of the year.”

Nixon said he’s always been good on top.

“I feel I’m better on my feet this year,” he said. “That’s probably my strength. I have to get a lot better on bottom if I want to compete with the best.”

A good test for Nixon and his teammates will be the Marquette Challenge Saturday in the Upper Peninsula.

“Marquette is usually a very hard tournament,” he said. “We’ll see people we see at state, plus from Wisconsin.”

Nixon likes his team’s prospects.

“I think we’ll compete for a regional title, make it to state and make a run for that,” Nixon said. “We’re strong this year. I think we’re even better than last year. We need to keep injuries to a minimal. We’ve had some injuries this year.”