WORTHINGTON -- One bit of sports advice that Kyle Mullaney says has always stayed with him is, that no matter what the situation -- no matter what happens -- it’s important to always keep fighting to do your absolute best.
The Worthington High School senior took that advice literally to heart during the 2019 Trojans football campaign. In a year where the team struggled on the gridiron, and at times was seriously outmanned by bigger, more powerful programs, Mullaney kept up the fight. And it is in part for that reason he was named the South Central Red District’s Defensive Lineman of the Year.
“Pretty tough district to get named that when you’re competing against some really good defensive linemen from Marshall, Waseca and St. Peter,” Mullaney recalled recently. “So it felt pretty good being named that. Honestly, I had a pretty good season and my stats showed truly what kind of football player I am. No matter what the score of our games were, no matter how good or bad we were doing, I was always working my hardest and trying to be the best football player and teammate I could be.”
Mullaney competes in football, baseball and wrestling for the Trojans. Currently, he’s the 10th-ranked wrestler in Minnesota Class AA at 285 pounds.
His wrestling coach, Kirk Feit, describes Mullaney as a kind-hearted soul, but when he’s on the mat he’s all business. The only senior on this year’s WHS team, Mullaney says he likes to apply constant pressure on his opponents, hopefully wearing them out for the third period. He’s often lighter than his rivals, and he feels he can take full advantage of his quickness in the final two minutes.
The Globe talked to Kyle for an episode of The Drill. You can see the video online at www.dglobe.com. Here’s a sampling of the interview:
QUESTION: You’ve done a lot of growing between your freshman and senior wrestling seasons. How have you had to adjust your strategies throughout the years?
ANSWER: “During my freshman year I wrestled 152 and I was an alternate for varsity. Then my sophomore year I bumped up a couple weight classes to 170. And then my junior year I made a big jump to 220, and as that season progressed I would wrestle heavyweight as need be, for the team. And I kind of liked it a lot better, that pace of wrestling. So I decided this year to put on some muscle and weight and wrestle at heavyweight.”
QUESTION: Is it your job to set an example for the team?
ANSWER: “I’m a captain, and as being the only senior on the team I’ve got to make sure I’m leading the team. Make sure everybody’s working and not screwing around. Because I see a lot of promise on our team.”
QUESTION: Have you got a special memory to share?
ANSWER: “Back in youth program, Kirk Feit, our head coach now, he used to coach me. And he always had one nickname for me. I was called ‘The Mauler.’ And it’s always stuck with me.”