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Article: #WrestlingWednesday Feature: Konrath Going an Alternate Route

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By JEREMY HINES

thehines7@gmail.com

 

When the Indiana High School rankings are revealed, it will appear that there is one glaring omission.

 

Paul Konrath, who finished second at 106 pounds his freshman year and third at 113 pounds as a sophomore, has chosen to not wrestle this high school season. Konrath is also a Flo and a Fargo champion.

 

“This was a tough decision,” Konrath said. “There was quite a bit of thought behind it. My dad and I weighed the opportunities we saw with not wrestling for a high school and decided that was probably the best option for me.”

 

Konrath, who had previously wrestled for Mt. Vernon High School, has also decided to complete his education at Indiana Connections Academy, and online school.

 

The change in school to an online program will allow Konrath to wrestle in multiple national tournaments throughout the year. Those national tournaments are what the family is hoping will bring the most competition and the most college exposure to Paul.

 

Tim Konrath, Paul’s dad, didn’t like that Paul had to miss out on several tournaments due to high school.

 

“We went to as many tournaments as we could last year,” Tim said. “But the school frowns on missing too many days and we really pushed that envelope. His grades are very good, but they still want you in class.”

 

With the online schooling, that frees Paul up to do more traveling.

 

Paul will compete in Las Vegas, Missouri and in several other states this year.

 

The Konrath family believes that by entering so many national tournaments, they will get more college exposure than wrestling the high school season. They also are excited that they will get to train with top notch coaches they have met through some of the big tournaments.

 

Another reason for the decision, is that the rigors of high school wrestling have taken a toll on Paul, physically.

 

Paul has dislocated his elbow, cracked his sternum and broken his nose more times than he can remember. He has also dislocated his knee cap multiple times. He had surgery on his knee earlier this year.

 

“He really has to get some rest,” Tim said. “The high school season seems to always be hardest on his body, and the least rewarding as far as furthering his collegiate career.”

 

Paul, a devout Christian, doesn’t have a specific college he’s looking to attend. He doesn’t know yet what he wants to study or what he wants to do after college. He said all of those things he has left undecided, waiting to hear what God has in store for him.

 

“I know I may sound like a broken record,” Paul said. “But for me it’s a big deal to make sure I’m going where God wants me to, and doing what God wants me to do. I don’t want to get any ideas in my head about college or a career and it not be God’s plan.”

 

That doesn’t mean Paul doesn’t have goals. He wants to climb the national rankings as high as he can and he wants to keep getting better. He also hopes to stay healthy.

 

Paul is one of six Konrath brothers. His older brother Andrew was the best wrestler of the group, until Paul came along. Andrew was a two-time state qualifier.

 

“All of my boys, except Paul, started wrestling when they got to high school,” Tim said. “None of them started young like Paul. The boys actually pushed me to get Paul in a program early.

 

“I didn’t know how he would do. Then the coach called and told me that Paul was some sort of freak of nature, and I thought, ‘Yeah right, he’s a momma’s boy’. Then I went out and watched him and saw how much he loved wrestling and how he was pretty good at it. He won that tournament and we’ve been doing tournaments ever since.”

 

Paul said his favorite moment in wrestling was after he won at Fargo and was able to talk about God during his video interview.

 

“I’ve went to church my whole life and I have a passion for talking to the people around me about God,” Paul said. “That’s why whenever we go to a tournament I always meet new friends and I get to tell them about what Jesus has done for me. I love that.”

 

Whether or not the decision to not wrestle in high school will help Paul’s recruitment process has yet to be determined. The Konraths are going all-in with the idea that increasing Paul’s national presence can only help.

 

Paul still has strong ties with the Mt. Vernon wrestling family. His former high school coaches have been supportive. Paul plans to be at as many meets as he can, as a fan, and to be the team’s biggest supporter.

 

“It’s tough because Paul really loved the kids in that program, and the coaches,” Tim said. “But we feel we are still representing Mt. Vernon whenever he goes to these big tournaments. Not only is Paul representing Mt. Vernon, he’s representing Indiana and that’s something he takes very seriously.”

 

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Another reason for the decision, is that the rigors of high school wrestling have taken a toll on Paul, physically.

 

Paul has dislocated his elbow, cracked his sternum and broken his nose more times than he can remember. He has also dislocated his knee cap multiple times. He had surgery on his knee earlier this year.

 

“He really has to get some rest,” Tim said. “The high school season seems to always be hardest on his body, and the least rewarding as far as furthering his collegiate career.”

I hope this works out for him.  Wish him all the best of luck in the next couple of years.  Love that he has a passion for ministry.

 

If I was a college coach, the above quote might raise my eyebrow a little bit.  If the high school season is too much of a grind, how would one make it through a college season?

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This situation reminds me a little bit of former Illinois high school wrestler Pat McCaffrey. He moved all over the country and ended up at Navy collegiately. He had kind of a mixed bag of results

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I respect the decision but I think it's a shame to end his high school career with such a promising future.   Also (As Smooth 34 pointed out) if high school is hard on your body - I assume college would be worse? 

 

Selfishly, I just hate losing a Southern Indiana guy that I can follow and cheer for on the road to State.      

 

Good luck!

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If I was a college coach, the above quote might raise my eyebrow a little bit.  If the high school season is too much of a grind, how would one make it through a college season?

 

(As Smooth 34 pointed out) if high school is hard on your body - I assume college would be worse? 

 

From what I understand, he was getting advice from college coaches that, because of his injuries, he should be giving his body a break at some point and not be wrestling year around. So, basically, he could choose to wrestle the high school season and sit out all of the national tournaments, or he could choose to sit out the high school season and just focus on the national tournaments.

 

I think he made a great choice, and he is a great kid with a great family!

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The Posey County News Winter Sports preview came out today - North vs. South.   I thought it was interesting that in the Mt. Vernon wrestling article there was no mention of Konrath.      

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I can't stop wondering what was going on at the high school practices that would be so hard on his body.  Was he wrestling kids who were too large?  Who does he practice with daily now and how would they be different than the kids who were on his team as far as damaging his body?  Or does he even practice daily or just show up and wrestle national tournaments?  I would have bent over backward to keep him on the team - You only want to practice 2 days a week?  No problem.

 

Maybe there are good answers to those questions, but I think they will linger until more is known.

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