McNeil High School juniors Tyler Barker and Kathleen Hartman have qualified to advance to the Texas UIL Wrestling tournament to be held in Houston on Feb. 24.
Tyler, a two-time state qualifier, earned second in the boys 113 lb. weight class at the regional tournament held in San Antonio. Kathleen placed fourth in the girls 138 lb. weight class and will be the first female wrestler from the District to advance to the State Wrestling UIL tournament.
“It was tough and very exhausting having to battle through wrestling back to win the fourth place spot,” said Kathleen.
To prepare for the regional competition, wrestling Coach Levi Steele said that both student-athletes practiced intensively with added practices, extra drills, and film sessions to study their opponents and identify their areas of weakness. Steele also credits Kathleen with getting wrestling started at McNeil.
“She worked to get the sport noticed in the area and by the District,” said Steele. “It was a challenge for her to push through when others told her she wouldn’t be able to compete in such a demanding sport. She has proved to others that a female can be competitive in this sport while still being a young lady off the mat.”
Tyler cited balancing his diet and energy levels to maintain his weight as his biggest challenge at the regional competition.
“Tyler sets very high goals for himself and is very dedicated to achieving those goals,” said Steele. “His work ethic is well above the average athlete. He goes above and beyond to train and prepare for competitions. His determination is relentless.”
Tyler is a student in the business and industry academy. Kathleen is a member of the science, technology, engineering, and math academy. Both are a member of the National Honor Society.
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