On Tuesday, another of the Empire State’s prized recruits from the class of 2010 came off of the market when it was announced that defending 215-pound DII State Champion, Kyle Colling, had given a verbal to University of Oklahoma Head Coach, Jack Spates. In doing so, the multi-sport athlete from Pioneer High School became the third mega prospect in as many years from New York to make Norman his home away from home…Last season, Spates and company won the sweepstakes for the services of 4x NYS DII Champion, Alex Ekstrom and NYS DI placewinner/2x NHSCA All-American Clay Reeb…Ekstrom is expected to be in contention for the starting spot at 133-pounds this season.
A first time State Champion and placewinner last season, Colling has been a name on the national circuit since 2007 when he was an NHSCA Freshmen All-American, finishing 4th at 189 pounds…An underclassman stuck in a weight class usually reserved for more mature wrestlers, as a sophomore, Colling again had to watch from the stands as older brother, Randy, finished 3rd in 2008, following a State runner-up finish the previous year….Randy would go on to become a NHSCA Senior National Runner-up before electing to continue his academic/athletic career as a two-sport athlete (also a D-Lineman on the football team) at Gannon University.
As a junior, it would be Kyle’s turn to shine, and shine he did, pinning two opponents and posting 2-0 (quarterfinals over Ryan Talcott) and 9-4 decisions (in the state finals over Craig Amidon) en route to claiming the individual hardware under the roof of the Times Union Center in Albany….Colling would be just getting started though….A few weeks following his state title winning efforts, Colling would explode his stock sky-high, going 5-0 (including an injury default in the finals over University of Maryland committee, Spencer Myers) in Virginia Beach to claim the 2009 NHSCA Junior National Title.
Receiving extremely high praise from several college coaches with whom I spoke, Colling was recently named as one of NY’s top-5 seniors from the class of 2010 in InterMat’s “Wrestling 49” series…Projected as a heavyweight at the next level, Colling becomes the immediate favorite to replace current Sooner starter/former NHSCA Senior National Runner-up Nathan Fernandez when the latter graduates in 2011…Colling should be more than ready to embrace this role, benefitting greatly from the addition of Ross Thatcher to the Sooner coaching staff as a volunteer assistant..Prior to coming to OU, Thatcher had spent four years working as an assistant at Ohio State, helping to mold the likes of heavyweight studs such as 2008 NCAA runner-up J.D. Bergman. As a coach, Thatcher has had a hand in producing 23 All-Americans, five national finalists, and a trio of National Champions. His presence in the Sooner wrestling room should make Colling’s transition from one level to the next all the more smooth and seamless.
The fourth person in the past week (sixth overall) to commit to the University of Oklahoma, Colling joins an already stacked 2010 recruiting class consisting of: #49 Justin DeAngelis (2x Oklahoma State Champion), Ronnie Balfour (2009 Oklahoma State runner-up/2009 Junior National GR runner-up), Derek Geiges (2009 South Carolina State Champion/2x State finalist), Quincy Mondaine (2009 Oklahoma State runner-up), and #97 Parker Madl (2009 Kansas State Champion/2x State finalist).
Prior to yesterday’s announcement, Colling confirmed that he had narrowed down his choices to a short list of three—Oklahoma, Ohio State, and Old Dominion. Citing his reasons for choosing OU, the future Sooner indicated that he was won over by the quality of the program, the excellent coaches, and the determination and hard work he witnessed in the Oklahoma Wrestling room. He summed his decision up best, saying ” it has the right fit where I feel I can go to work hard and become a champion right away.”
On behalf of LHW, we congratulate Kyle, his family, and everyone affiliated with the Pioneer Wrestling program on this big accomplishment !!!