CHEROKEE, Kan. – Southeast senior Tyler Kester will wrestle for three time national champion Labette Community College. This season Kester took 2nd place at the KSHSAA Class 321A State Championship in the 120 pound weight division, his third medal at the high school state level. Kester joins a program that was the NJCAA National Individual Tournament Team National Champion in 2005, 2012 and 2013 and is now coached by Jeff Vesta.
“I’ve known Tyler for a couple of years now and I knew taking over the program he was a guy I wanted to get,” said Coach Vesta, who spent the past few years at the assistant at LCC, but is now preparing for his first season as the Head Coach. “He was my first kid I’ve actually signed since I took over. I took advantage of it before he tried to go anyone else. We’re ready to get started and get him on the mat.”
Coach Vesta was a 6A state high school champion and a six time Fargo All-American, as well as a three time All-American in college and a National Championship in the 125 pound division.
“We’ve known each other over the last couple of years and I just feel really comfortable wrestling under him and his style of coaching, I think we fit perfect,” Kester said.
Despite an injury that sidelined him most of his sophomore year, Kester has more than 100 career high school wins, more than 60 of those at Southeast the past two years. He took 4th place in 5A State for Pittsburg High School as a freshman, then, his junior year, Kester became the first Lancer Wrestler to medal at State, taking 4th place in 321A, before taking 2nd place this season.
Filling in for SHS Wrestling Head Coach Jason Wilderman at Friday’s signing ceremony, Principal Larry Malle told Kester’s teammates that while he was appreciative of Kester’s accomplishments on behalf of the school, he was more impressed with how Kester showed the third year program the hard work it takes to be successful.
“Bigger than anything else was his ability to show a young program the kind of things you have to do to be successful, and hopefully the younger kids here in our program will then be able to pick up where he left off from his example and move forward from there,” Principal Malle said. “Some of the hardest things about being successful in a program is knowing how hard you have to work to be successful in it, and what Tyler was able to do was maybe speed up that learning curve for us a little bit by showing us early on in our program.”