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Algoma U wrestler turns his setbacks into comeback

After taking two years off from wrestling, Algoma University’s Kyle Price made a quick comeback at the turn of the year to finish third in the national rankings for his weight category
Algoma University second-year wrestler Kyle Price (pictured above) has soared up the national rankings in wrestling after taking two years off from competing.

No matter the number of curveballs thrown in Kyle Price’s direction, the tenacious varsity athlete finds a new gear time after time.

Wrapping up his second year with the Algoma University Thunderbirds men’s wrestling team last month, Price has put himself in the conversation as one of the nation’s top wrestlers.

The 24-year-old is coming off a memorable 2023 outing after becoming just the second wrestler in school history to win gold at the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Championships in February.

One week after topping the provincial podium, he followed up with a bronze medal finish at the National University Sports Championships in Edmonton, placing him third on Canada’s wrestling rankings heading into next year.

But his path to recording all this success in short order wasn’t an easy one.

“I got into wrestling in Grade 7, and I competed against the high school kids,” he says. “I had three cousins and two brothers on the team, and they basically said, ‘if you want to come and get your ass whooped, come out,’ so I took advantage of it.”

Born and raised in Timmins, Price graduated from high school in 2016 before heading off to Montreal to begin his university wrestling career.

But after losing interest in his economics course, he decided to move back to Timmins for a year to coach his high school wrestling club.

Price learned about Algoma University’s wrestling program after meeting his now coach Trevor Manchester who talked him into moving to the Sault.

After putting in a full year at Algoma, Price opted out again when COVID-19 hit.

“Mentally, I needed the wrestling to do the schooling,” he says. “Without it, it’s a bit draining.”

Price moved to Kirkland Lake for two years and worked in the mines during the pandemic prior to making the decision to go back to Algoma this past January.

Looking to rejoin the wrestling team, the Thunderbird was left with lots of uncertainty heading into this year’s competitive season.

“It was definitely a nerve-wracking move, especially not knowing what was to come from the year,” he says. “I went from sitting 12 hours a day, driving a truck 6,000 feet underground, to suddenly trying to be a varsity athlete.”

“People were still training during the two years I was off. Every week I was training, it felt like a new injury.”

Despite the massive setback, Price made a quick turnaround and was back in shape and ready for competition in a matter of weeks.

But his ‘welcome back’ to the mat came in the form of Canada’s second-ranked wrestler.

“In wrestling, if you get 10 points more than your opponent, they call it,” he says. “In the first 30 seconds, he had me down 8-0, but I came back and ended up pinning him.”

“That was the same guy I wrestled in the finals at OUA and ended up beating.”

After claiming gold at the OUA Championships in the 100 kg weight category, Price advanced to the national stage for the U Sports Championships in Alberta.

With a chance to earn the bronze medal, he found himself in a familiar spot.

“A guy from the University of Saskatchewan had me at 9-0,” he says. “I ended up catching him on a few different series of moves and pinned him with about a minute left to win.”

Despite being down in key matches, Price doesn’t seem to mind the pressure.

“I’ve definitely gotten used to it,” he says. “I feel the pressure, but I strive on it. There’s no room for mistakes at that point.”

Price’s bronze secured Algoma’s fourth-ever U Sports medal, which has all come from the school’s wrestling team.

“I go to these tournaments, and people would just call me Algoma. Being from a small town, you carry the school a bit more. It’s a compliment but a bit more stressful – you definitely have to be on your best behaviour,” he laughed.

The 24-year-old is now looking forward to going back to Edmonton in December for a chance to compete in the Olympic trials.

“The Olympics were definitely a goal growing up,” he says. “As the pandemic hit, it seemed less and less of a likely option. But if I can get to third in Canada with two months of training and put some work in, time will tell what will happen.”

Studying English as his major and French as his minor, Price takes four classes instead of five to dedicate more time to wrestling, but he’s still considered a full-time student.

“It gives me some breathing room to balance everything out,” he says.

Price has one more year of eligibility to compete in wrestling at Algoma before he intends to look into teacher’s college the year after.

He says the support he’s received from his wrestling coach Trevor Manchester, as well as his family and friends, has meant the world to him.

“Trevor’s a great coach,” he says. “When it’s time to work, he expects you to work. He likes to keep things fun but also professional – he does a good job with balancing it, and he’s a great wrestler.”

“I’ve also had a ton of my support from my family this year. Between Timmins, Kirkland, Montreal, and the Sault – I’ve received lots of messages from friends. It’s been a great support base.”

Price notes that wrestling has taught him many life lessons that have helped shape him into the person – and athlete – he is today.

“Wrestling forces you to be more accountable,” he says. “If you won, it’s because of you. If you lost, it’s because of you. It makes the highs higher and the lows lower.”

“It’s one of those sports where it’s hard to be naturally good at it, and it’s easy to get discouraged too quickly. But if you take your time with it, it’s a great outlet.”

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Alex Flood

About the Author: Alex Flood

Alex is a recent graduate from the College of Sports Media where he discovered his passion for reporting and broadcasting
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