Area Wrestler Inspires On and Off the Mat

By: Matt SantaMaria Email
By: Matt SantaMaria Email

From the waist up, Tyson Higel looks like any other high school wrestler. From the waist down, he does not.

“I just manned up about it, I try not to make excuses about it, I just go out there and try to compete with everybody,” Tyson said.

Tyson lost part of his left leg in a riding lawn mower accident when he was four years old, and as he puts it, sports were never much a part of his life thereafter.

But there was one sport Wilber-Clatonia coach Jason Bates always wanted Tyson to try…wrestling.

“I tried to talk Tyson into it when he was a little kid, and I tried to get him into that, and he alluded to the fact that he just wasn’t comfortable with who he was.”

His junior year, Tyson finally gave wrestling a shot, he won just seven matches.

“It was real frustrating at first because this sport is a sport where you have to have a lot of experience to do good out there,” Tyson said.

But over the offseason, Tyson found his niche. He decided not to wrestle with his prosthetic leg.

It’s weight not only slowed Tyson down on the mat, but it actually raised him to a higher weight class.

“I think wrestling has made Tyson comfortable with who he is. It has given him some leadership skills and it has taught him that dedication pays off,” Jason said.

Tyson has won nearly twice as many matches as he did a year ago, but for the Wilber-Clatonia senior, it’s never been about the victories, it’s been about the lives he touched.

“I can count so many times that people that I don’t even know, wrestlers and coaches have come up to me and tell me how good of a wrestler I am and how much of an inspiration I am and how they’re rooting for me, it’s a great feeling,” Tyson said.


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