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Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012

East wrestler Tipton gains confidence

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Myron Tipton is going for it.

There is no hesitation on the wrestling mat this season for the Olathe East senior 220-pounder, which is a dramatic change from the last few seasons.

Tipton is a two-time state qualifier with a combined 53-35 record the last two seasons. He’s tasted success and made a mark in the Kansas wrestling scene.

But Tipton, who took up the sport in eighth grade, always seemed to be holding something back still.

“He’s always been technically gifted as a wrestler,” Hawks coach Lance Larson said. “He came in with some experience as a freshman, so he had a bit of a background and he’s refined his technique. That has always been a strength for him.”

The confidence to use those skills, however, was often a different story entirely.

“The last few years, I didn’t feel comfortable doing my shots,” Tipton said. “I wasn’t very aggressive and let other guys dictate the pace, but I feel like I am a big dog now and all I want to do is take guys down and set the pace this year.”

There’s no magic elixir. Tipton’s emergence is the product of plain old work — work in the weight room and work in the wrestling room — coupled with a desire to be better and make the most of his last high school season.

“He’s a lot more explosive, because he’s a lot stronger than he was last year,” Larson said. “I judge a lot of it by my assistant Chad Butler, who works with our bigger guys in the room. Watching how Chad would handle guys like Jake Woten a few years ago and now Myron, you can see the transformation. As things come together, those guys suddenly are able to hold their own a little more.”

So, Tipton is going for it.

“I’ve learned to just go out there and fight,” Tipton said. “I feel like this this year I can go out and just push kids around. I feel bigger out there and I want to show I am not going to back down. It’s similar to lining up across from a guy in football. You have to willing to get down and dirty, to be mean a little bit.”

There’s no mistaking what a difference the new mindset has made.

Tipton, who committed to Baker for football and wrestling last week, travels to the SEK Classic today in Chanute, Kan., with a 26-1 record.

No longer tentative on the mat, Tipton has come into his own and finds himself ranked No. 4 in 6A by the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association.

He’s no longer a wrestler hoping to make state next month.

Now, Tipton is determined to return to state for a third time and finally score his first win at the state meet. He’s even allowing himself to dream of finishing atop the podium Feb. 25 at Hartman Arena in Wichita.

“I think it’s possible, but it’s a hard road and I know there are two or three other really good kids out there right now,” Tipton said. “But I am going to do my best. I definitely want to place at state, but if I could get into that first-place match that would be awesome.”

Off the mat, Tipton remains “one of the nicest and most respectful kids I’ve been around – great student, good family and all that,” Larson said. “Off that mat, there’s not a mean bone in his body. But when gets between the lines he has learned when to turn it on and how to be the aggressor.”

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