Lincoln duo to wrestle at nationals in July
Lincoln High wrestlers Lucas Cook and Kylie Titus have already taken their talents to an all-new level, in spite of being relatively new to their sport.
Titus, who completed her senior year wrestling for the Fighting Zebras has only been working at the sport for a little over two years. A folkstyle (high school, collegiate) champion in her own right, Titus qualified at Fresno’s USA Freestyle Wrestling State Meet in April for the national event in Fargo, N.D. in July.
Typically wrestling at 101 pounds, Titus moved up to 112 pounds for the state meet after gaining weight during the offseason. She could have wrestled at 106 pounds, but said the competition at that weight was just too fierce.
“I was scared because at 101 I knew I could easily just muscle the girl,” Titus said, “but at 112 it was weird, like being muscled, so I was just hoping to win a match.”
Titus won enough matches to place third at state and qualified for nationals.
Although a traditional folkstyle wrestler, Titus was anxious to learn freestyle. On scholarship to attend MacMurray College in Illinois, Titus said women’s wrestling at that level is freestyle.
“It really wasn’t that bad of a transition, other than knowing you can’t go (blindly) out there otherwise you’re going to get thrown on you head,” Titus said about freestyle.
Cook, or “Cookie” as his friends call him, is at the other end of the spectrum. At 6-feet-3-inches in height and tipping the scale at 271 pounds, the sophomore is imposing, but not necessarily in his mind.
Cook describes himself as a small guy in a big man’s body. He said he works more on technique and tries to keep the “muscle” part of wrestling at a minimum. In spite of his size, the Zebras football left tackle said he surprises opponents with his quickness.
Like Titus, Cook developed quickly as a wrestler. Although he began wrestling in elementary school, he said he didn’t win a match until he was in seventh grade. It wasn’t until he stepped on the mat his freshman year at Lincoln High that things began to turn for him.
“I think my future’s bright. You just have to start seeing the right path,” Cook said. You have to work out hard every day; definitely the mentality.”
“The coaching is great,” Cook added. “I love the coaching (at Lincoln).”
Cook surprised even himself taking second at the state meet in Fresno.
Lincoln wrestling head coach Greg Harlow was not surprised by the rise of either Titus or Cook. He said they both have a definite passion for the sport and they are not afraid to put in the work necessary to be a champion.
“Both of these wrestlers, Kylie and Cook, have some aspirations of wrestling at a high level and on a bigger stage in the future, after their collegiate careers, if that is what they choose to do,” said Harlow.
_ To be continued