Ready to rumble: Junior Kyra Tomlinson is crafting her legacy on the wrestling mat


Thomas Whalen and Maria Celis

The atmosphere was electric. Shouts from parents, teammates, and spectators in the audience surrounded eighth-grader Kyra Tomlinson, and the chills and adrenaline combined together to create almost a sense of euphoria in her. She had just won the River Rock championship, It was the moment that changed her life.

Tomlinson, currently a junior, has been wrestling for five years now. She is a two-time state championship runner-up, and has made a tremendous impact on the NHS wrestling program. Yet wrestling wasn’t always part of her life, and she only developed a passion for the sport in middle school. 

Wrestling is typically viewed as a male-dominated sport, at least in the public image. According to College Wrestling Recruiting, a whopping 94% of wrestlers are male. Many believe it is such a great thing when girls like Tomlinson begin to rip down those stereotypes and come out on top. Tomlinson isn’t completely sure what got her into wrestling, but her attitude has played a large role in breaking down those walls.

“Part of the reason was a lot of people said I couldn’t do it and I was curious,” Tomlinson said. “I really like the idea of being the only girl to dominate the males in something they think they have complete control over, wanting to beat them at their own game.”

Brooke Butler, a junior wrestler, joined the team in 2020 as a freshman, the same year as Tomlinson. Like Tomlinson, she faced challenges with adjusting to a new culture.

“[Kyra] was at East Middle School and I was at West. Freshman year was a challenge overcoming being the only girls on the high school team and getting the team to accept us. Now that we are upperclassmen the team is family,” said Butler. “We both prepare for matches in very similar ways [with] stretching, music and a pep talk from Coach [Michael] Weimer.

Tomlinson says the feeling she experiences when she achieves her goals is what keeps pushing her to succeed, time and time again. She holds up her hugely successful sophomore and junior seasons as proof that her discipline has paid off.

“One of my favorite aspects is the achievements. I work hard for what I want and finally feeling the ref raise my hand and my coaches in the corner clapping for me is a moment I will always love,” Tomilson said.

Tomilson’s teammates have also noticed her motivation and the effort that she put into her craft before the competitions. And they were right there to help her along the way.

“Her attitude from regionals week to state was laser focused and set for one thing, which was the state title. She worked harder in the room, hard drilling with her partner Brooke Butler, another state [finalist],” said junior wrestler Carter Richardson. “I’ve seen her grow from just wrestling at school to perfecting her craft and become better in and outside of the room.”

Fans might mistakenly think that someone for thinking that someone like Tomlinson, ranked second in this year’s state wrestling tournament, would have ironed out the nerves and anxiety before a match. But they’d be wrong. 

“I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t nervous. A part of me always is, but that doesn’t mean I can’t perform better,” Tomlinson said. “Before a match, I usually go off by myself and have my music playing. I watch closely as the other people wrestle and get my mind focused on my match.” 

After high school, Tomlinson wants to continue being involved in wrestling and she has big dreams and aspirations. But many believe that with a can-do attitude like she possesses, it is well within her realm of possibility. According to Weimer, Tomlinson’s head coach for her entire high school career, the wrestler has the mental resolve and physical ability to achieve these goals that seem so far off for so many people.

“At state, I really noticed Kyra’s preparation before each match,” Weimer said. “Her pre-match routine, listening to her music,  warming her body and mind up to prepare at the highest level, was what separated herself from her opponents on the mat.”

“I would love to be on the world team and go win gold Olympic medals and win world championships,” said Tomlinson.

Tomlinson also draws her motivation and her drive to succeed from her life outside of the wrestling room. Tomlinson looks up to her peers to help her make her a better version of herself everyday. Who would be her greatest role model? That would be her Mom.

 “My mom is an independent woman and a single mother. She works hard and gets what she wants,” Tomlinson said. “She has shown me that life isn’t easy so don’t expect it to be. If I want that state title. I better fight for it and work hard.”