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High School Wrestler Proves Winning Isn’t Everything

Updated: 01/15/2014 11:14 PM
Created: 01/15/2014 9:47 PM KAALtv.com
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- From our favorite teams, to the players we love to hate, sports give us something to cheer for. And there are few things better than seeing the underdog come out on top.

This weekend a local wrestler gave us all something to cheer for in his gracious defeat to one underdog in particular.

At this weekend's Kiffmeyer Duals in Saint Cloud, tenth-grader Ryleigh Bure of Albert Lea was asked by his coach if he wanted some extra practice.

"He was like, ‘Do you want to wrestle an exhibition match?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, sure,’” Ryleigh said.

But there was a reason Ryleigh's opponent, Kyle, wasn’t getting any other matches that day.

"I found out he had down syndrome, and once I was told that I knew that I was going to give him the match because I was told that he hasn't won a match or anything yet,” Ryleigh said. “No one knew I was going to let him win."

But Ryleigh wasn't just going to roll over, wanting Kyle to earn his first victory.

"I really didn't know what to do going into it because I've never been in that situation,” Ryleigh said. “But I don't know, kind of made him work for it, not just going to give it to him."

“I don't think anybody really realized it was Kyle out there, and once they noticed it was Kyle, after the first period, the claps got louder and louder,” said Ryleigh’s mother Danielle Bure, who watched the whole match from the stands. “I think he just got caught up in the moment and he just kept wrestling with Kyle. If you look close he's smiling at Kyle and kind of telling him come on, let's do this.”

And Danielle had to admit, “I even had to start rooting for Kyle.”

Ryleigh made it a match, but as the whistle blew and the referee raised Kyle's hand in victory, Ryleigh, the loser, walked off the mat a winner.

"Everyone deserves to win,” Ryleigh said. “I know what it feels like and he hasn't had a win yet, so I thought he deserved to feel what it felt like to win."

Ryleigh was able to secure a win in two of his other matches, finishing the tournament with a 2-1 record.