Double State Champion extends wrestling career at Doane

Front row: Doane Head Wrestling Coach Matt Hansen, senior Wyatt Phillips, and Wyatt's mom, Sheri Phillips. Back row: David City High School Head Wrestling Coach Tahner Thiem, and Wyatt's dad, Pat Phillips.

Nicole Buntgen, Co-Editor

As if winning State twice already wasn’t enough, senior Wyatt Phillips has chosen to continue wrestling after high school as he signed his letter of intent with Doane on April 27.

Wyatt said he chose Doane because he likes the program and kids on the team. He said both they and the coaches were very welcoming and showed a lot of interest in him.

Wyatt also said he decided on Doane because his older brother, Martin, also wrestles there. Martin helped Wyatt select Doane both academically and athletically.

“It [college wrestling] has better competition, and people who wrestle in college are all really good and have the same skill-set,” Wyatt said. “There’s really no bad people wrestling in college because they all love it and want to keep doing it and competing. It’s going to take a lot more training for sure.”

Of course, Wyatt wouldn’t be where he is today without the help of his coaches in high school. Wyatt said they helped him develop a work ethic that could help him prepare for college-level practices.

“Several colleges talked to me about Wyatt going and wrestling for them. Doane seemed like a great fit for Wyatt because of their improving wrestling program, how close it is to home, and their familiarity because of his brother wrestling there,” David City High School Head Wrestling Coach Tahner Thiem said. “I think it will be a great opportunity for Wyatt to be on the same team as his brother once again.”

To prepare for college wrestling, Wyatt said he will go to Doane to wrestle during the summer and get workouts in two or three times a week. He said he will also continue to lift a lot so he doesn’t lose any muscle.

“I think he’s going to be highly, highly successful. College wrestling is another level, and I know he’s capable of making those changes because he wrestles at such a high level already,” Doane Head Wrestling Coach Matt Hansen said. “He has the potential to win a National Title and be a multiple time All-American, and that’s what I’m hoping for him. It won’t be easy; it isn’t for anyone. There’s always someone else who’s just as talented and working just as hard, but I think that’s something he can definitely accomplish.”

It’s nothing new for Wyatt to know college wrestling is way different than high school wrestling. With anything new in life comes ups and downs. Advantages Wyatt said include learning how to develop time management skills between academics and athletics, however, he said you also have to know when you have time for friends, sports, and school.

For the longest time, Wyatt was undecided on a college and his future. Wyatt said once he started going on college visits, he soon realized what he wanted to do with his life.

“I got to see so much more of the campus [Doane] and I just felt like I belonged there. The campus just felt right,” Wyatt said. “It’s basically just like wrestling for fun and you get paid to do it. I got to meet a bunch of new people and that kind of helped me decide that I wanted to wrestle in college because I’ve always liked wrestling.”

Not only is Wyatt looking forward to wrestling at Doane, but Hansen said he is also looking forward to coaching him as well.

“I am very excited to have Wyatt on the team next year. I think he’s going to have an outstanding career here, and I’m really looking forward to coaching him and working with him,” Hansen said. “I think it’s really great that he and Martin are going to be wrestling together again. David City has a great wrestling program, and to have both Wyatt and Martin here wrestling at Doane, I would like to continue to recruit wrestlers from David City because I know they’re going to be good.”