(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
SIKESTON -- After completing one of the most successful careers in the history of the Sikeston Bulldog wrestling program, senior Blake Angle has decided his time on the mat is not quite finished.
In front of family and coaches this past Monday, Angle signed his letter of intent to wrestle at Lindenwood-Belleville University in Belleville, Ill.
"I went up there to visited and I really liked it," Angle said of Lindenwood-Bellville. "I was like, 'I think this is where I want to go', but I tried to keep my options open until the end of the season to see if anything else popped open.
"I wanted to go to a good team. I didn't want to go to a team that wasn't in it to win the whole thing. I want to compete for a national title and I want for my team to compete for a national title. I feel like this is the best place that I can do it."
A state qualifier in each of the past four seasons, Angle is coming off one of the best finishes of his wrestling career.
After setting a new school record of 150 career wins late in the season, Angle went on to take sixth-place in the Class 3, state tournament in the 120-pound division. This matches his career best sixth-place finish at state in 2009 as a freshman.
Angle said it was a fateful meeting at this season's conference tournament that set the wheels in motion for signing with Lindenwood-Bellville.
"I lost in my semifinal's match and was disappointed," he said. "I felt like I wrestled fine, it just didn't go my way. I ended up coming back and taking third.
"One of the referee's pulled me aside and he was a recruiter for Bellville and was like, 'hey, I like how you wrestled, you just didn't come out on top this weekend.' He set me up for a visit and I went up there. I went up there and just enjoyed it."
He'll join a young program in only its second year of existence. This past season, the Lynx men's wrestling team finished earned 10th-place at the National Collegiate Wrestling Association Championships, which took place this past March.
Though he'll be going against much stiffer competition, Sikeston head coach Seth Harrell thinks Angle has what it takes to be successful.
"I think his work ethic has always helped him and it will continue helping him," Harrell said. "He has experience and he's as smart of a wrestler as there is. He knows how to win those good tough matches and ultimately that's what you're going to have to do in college."
Angle plans to pursue a degree in Exercise Science.