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Foley Wrestler With Down Syndrome Inspires Teammates, Opponents

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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FOLEY, Minn. (WCCO) — Foley wrestling is rich in tradition. The Falcons have won three state titles and have their sights set on a fourth this season.

“Right now I think we’re ranked second and we have a great opportunity to get to the state tournament and see what we can do down there,” said Coach Lyle Freudenberg.

With 13 seniors, there’s plenty of leadership. But it’s a freshman wrestler that’s providing the motivation for this team.

“When he’s with his friends there he gets after it. He’s really aggressive. But that’s what we look for,” said Spencer Schrupp.

Spencer is talking about his little brother Kyle. Kyle was born with Down Syndrome and other health complications. He’s had nearly 20 surgeries in his young life.

“He’s almost legally blind without his glasses. He was born with cataracts in both eyes,” said Kyle’s mom, Pam.

Yet, nothing seems to stop him. Kyle followed Spencer and began wrestling in sixth grade. What he lacks physically, he makes up for with heart.

“Typically kids pin him within a few moments. And this kid went all three periods with him and made him work for it,” said Pam.

During a match where Kyle would cheer no matter if he was getting the take down or being taken down, his Milaca opponent put a rivalry aside and made sure it was Kyle who got his arm raised in the end.

“And he was kind of like, wait a minute, I won. So he carried himself a little differently. So he was pumped,” said Pam when recalling last Friday’s match.

Wrestlers and fans from both sides were also excited. Kyle got a standing ovation as he jumped into his coach’s arms. It was actually his third win of the year in such a way.

And every single win he’s had hasn’t just been for Kyle. They’ve also been for those closest to him. That includes his Friday night opponent, who also let Kyle beat him last year.

“He’s a fantastic, fantastic young man who was raised very well. So we are very proud of him as much as we are of Kyle,” said Pam.

It’s further proof that Kyle isn’t just inspiring his own team, he’s inspiring their biggest rival as well.

“He can tell the difference when he wins He gets a little more excited. But no matter if he wins or loses, he’s always just a great kid to watch,” said Coach Freudenberg.

Kyle also beat a wrestler from Albert Lea a couple weeks ago. His record is now 3-7 on the year at 113 pounds. Pam said he also plays golf in the spring.

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