Pinkerton wrestling coach Dave Rhoads has one word that sums up Kyle Setzer, his senior 195-pounder.
“He has been injured a lot during his career and, each time, he comes back stronger, more focused and with higher goals,” said Rhoads. “Last year was really crushing to him. He was having a good season and was surely headed to state medal status when the injury put him out for the year.
“Instead of getting down on himself, he went to the gym and set his sights on being the best 195-pounder he could be. His increased strength coupled with his quickness has made him a real problem for the 195-pound weight class.”
Indeed, Setzer currently stands second in a loaded 195-pound class, sporting an 18-2 record with 12 pins, titles in two tournaments and a third place in the highly regarded Lowell Holiday Tournament.
It’s a remarkable elevation for a guy who was a 170-pounder last year, tore ligaments and was unable to wrestle the last half of the season. It was his second major injury, having broken a toe as a freshman and missing a large chunk of that season.
Last year’s injury was particularly tough for Setzer to handle.
“I was really down at first,” said Setzer. “I went to all the meets but I really wanted to be out there wrestling. It was tough to take, but I knew I had to have a good year as a senior. I knew I had to work at it.”
And work he did. Starting in May, he elevated his workouts in the gym and began heading to Smitty’s Wrestling Barn with more frequency. He had planned on going up at least one weight class this year but he’s made the transition seamlessly.
“I wanted to just lift and get stronger, a lot stronger,” said Setzer, who has improved his bench press total 55 pounds in the last year to 280.
His opponents have no doubt felt the added strength and his foes at the Lowell Holiday Tournament must have noticed his perseverance. After losing his first match, he needed to win an impressive seven straight matches to secure third place, defeating dangerous Joey Perkins of Masconomet in the consolation finals.
“I was pretty tired at the end but it was a good feeling,” he said.
Having perseverance tends to lead to a good feeling.