Maize’s Kyle Haas is a national champion wrestler — again.
Haas, a sophomore 195-pounder, won the 2019 Junior Folkstyle National Tournament in Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Saturday. It marked his second title in two years. He beat California-based senior Ben Gould 3-0 in the championship bout.
This was Haas’ first year in the junior division, which includes all high school seniors in the U.S. Last year’s title came as a cadet in the under-16 division, so he said being one of the youngest junior wrestlers made this special.
“In the last five seconds, I had him in a front headlock, and I just knew all the hard work has paid off,” he said. “There is still a lot of work to do, but winning a wrestling match like that for a national championship is a great feeling.”
Haas said the win was one of the top three moments of his wrestling career but will use it as a stepping stone, he hopes. The goal is to reach the world team trials and wrestle for the U.S., he said.
Haas is one of the best pound-for-pound wrestlers in Kansas. he finished his high school season with his first state championship, beating Goddard senior Cayden Atkins 4-2 in the 182-pound title bout. He went 44-1 this season.
Haas’ only loss came to Derby’s Triston Wills, a two-time state champion signed to wrestle at Oklahoma State upon his graduation.
Although Haas had an amazing 2018-19 season, he was not named to the Eagle’s inaugural All-Metro team, going to show the depth of talent in the Wichita area. Haas said wrestling against the best in the area and all of Kansas undoubtedly helped him to the title.
“You go to these national tournaments and people talk about Kansas like it ain’t that good at wrestling,” he said. “But I’m going to national tournaments and winning. It just shows how good Kansas really is.”