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Kendall Cross By Austin Chadwick

1996 Olympic Champion and former Mustang wreslter Kendall Cross tells us about life after gold.

High school football in Oklahoma is very special to those who compete on Friday nights. Of course some would say that Saturdays in Norman, Oklahoma are just as special. Then others might make the case that nothing beats the NFL on Sundays.

Very few get an opportunity to play in college and a minus- cule amount get a chance to play on Sundays. But for King-

By Brad Heath Photos By Jim Curtis/Creative Photography

VYPE’s own Brad Heath had an opportunity at the Tulsa Nationals to catch up with the Mustang High School wres- tler who went on to become a three-time All-American and NCAA Champion at Oklahoma State University and an Olympic Gold Medalist in the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta.

VYPE: Kendall thanks for taking time out to chat with us

here at the Tulsa Nationals. Cross: Thanks for having me out. It’s good to be here and it’s good you guys are covering the event. I wrestled in this event as a kid. It’s changed dramatically over the years in terms of numbers and the commercial side of the business. Look out there on the mat at how many kids are here.

VYPE: Speaking of those changes, what are some of the

things you’ve seen this tournament develop into? Cross: There are a lot more states involved. Back then you had Oklahoma, Kansas, a little bit of Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana and Nebraska. It was more of a regional thing. Now I hear there’s 40-plus states competing! The inter-

fisher’s own Curtis Lofton, he has done it all. “I am blessed with the opportunities I have been given to play profession- ally,” said Lofton. “No matter how successful I, am I have to say that it all started in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. Nothing beats those Friday nights at The Hive.”

Lofton enjoyed a stellar career with the Yellowjackets. He started three years and tallied for over 500 tackles in his career. In 2003, Lofton led Kingfisher to the state title as a ju- nior and in 2004, the Yellowjackets were semifinalists while Lofton was a consensus All-Stater and All-American. What many people didn’t realize was that Lofton excelled in the classroom as well, earning honor roll status his senior year. “I was always taught to do things the right way and to apply myself in the classroom.”

net has a lot to do with it. Getting par- ents and teams the information is im- portant. And I don’t remember it being this technical.

VYPE: What is the toughest challenge for a kid making that transition from high school wres- tling to collegiate

Lofton continued on to fulfill his dream at Oklahoma Uni- versity and excelled for the Sooners from 2005-2007. In

2007, Lofton was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and was a consensus All-American. Even in the 2007 Big 12 Championship game, Lofton contributed by picking off a Chase Daniels pass and returned it inside the Missouri

wrestling? Cross: Several thing stand out, but not really one particu- lar thing more than the other. Coming out of high school the first difference you’ll notice is the strength of your teammates and opponents. The technical side of wres- tling is something else you’ll notice. What draws the line between those that make good college wrestlers are the ones that build a strategy based on what they are good at

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:: AUGUST 2010


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