In South Florida, the bar is set high for any sport. Difficult enough to be successful in one, excelling in two is rare. However, one Columbus athlete is surpassing expectations, as Kyle Mann is a district champ wrestler and first team All-Dade offensive lineman.
“Balancing wrestling and football, I mean, at times it can be hard, but, for the most part, its easy because they’re in separate seasons and the only time I really have to balance it is in the summer… so I just go to one practice in the morning and the other practice at night,” said Mann. Mann makes it sound and seem easy, but the reality is that wrestling and football are two aggressive sports that require an immense amount of practice. “You know, especially for a lineman… its tough for him because he has to go back and forth in weight, you know, I think the biggest thing is him understanding and him being mature enough to balance both things,” said Columbus offensive line coach Matt Dixon.
On the field, Mann led the number one offense in Dade County to the regional championships as the captain of the O-Line. “Kyle was definitely the leader of the offense, the offense fed off his energy, they fed off his leadership, and he pretty much was the big leader of the team this year,” said Dixon. Mann earned first team All-Dade honors his senior year and received national recognition from several Division 1 schools. With offers from schools like Syracuse and Marshall, Mann chose to play football at Bryant University. “I chose Bryant because when I went up there, I just thought it was the best fit for me. The academic environment, the coaches, the players out there, I loved them, and you just get a real sense of family like you get over here at Columbus,” said Mann. On a football scholarship, Mann will continue to wrestle for a club team in the offseason.
The list of accolades does not stop there. As a sophomore, Mann was named an All-American for wrestling and ranked second in the nation in his weight class. With two district championships under his belt, Mann has his eyes set on another goal- a state title. With only three state champions in Columbus history, Mann has a chance to be the fourth. He will face the number one wrestler in the state at the regional championships and may have to face him again at states. “He’s strong, he’s got great agility. I think he’s got a chance to win it… it’s going to be a long several days coming up but It’ll be exciting. I know he’s looking forward to it,” said wrestling coach Jim Husk.
Win, lose, or draw, Kyle Mann ranks high in Columbus history as the definition of an athlete.
Contributors: Alejandro Gonzalez, Jacob Gonzalez-Mir, Louis Hatem