Kyle Evans Inducted into Hall of Fame
Kyle Evans of the University of Central Oklahoma celebrates after defeating Shippensburg’s Steven Fittery for the 141lb title at the Division II Wrestling Champion- ships held at the Health and Sports Center on the campus of the University of Nebraska at Kearney in Kearney, Nebraska on March 3, 2007. Evans defeated Fittery by a score of 7-0 and helped Central Oklahoma take home the team title with 124.5 points. (Trevor Brown, Jr./NCAA Photos)
Kyle Evans, a former wrestler at the University of Central Oklahoma, has been selected to be inducted into the NCAA Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame.
With 13 other UCO members in the Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame, Evans said he was excited to be in the same class as many other UCO greats.
“When you’re competing, you see other UCO wrestlers get inducted and you hope that one day you’re on that level. To find out you are is a really special thing,” Evans said.
Evans will be inducted on Thursday, March 8 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa the day before the 2018 NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships. He will become the 14th UCO member to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Former Central Oklahoma great Kyle Evans has been selected for induction into the NCAA Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame, it was announced Monday. @UcoWrestling @UCOBronchos #RollChos https://t.co/ZqRnguY2Mo
— UCO Bronchos (@ucoathletics) January 29, 2018
Evans’ first milestone in his journey to the Hall of Fame came in 2003, when he won a state title at Edmond North. Evans began his recruiting process with three schools in mind, Fort Hayes, Central Missouri, and Central Oklahoma. But, after a recruiting visit to UCO, he canceled his other visits as soon as he got back.
Central Oklahoma was coming off back-to-back national championships, and staying home seemed like the obvious decision. Being from Edmond, Evans said he felt that UCO was the school for him.
“I always felt like it was in my blood a little bit,” Evans said. “Every coach I’ve ever had wrestled at UCO. From little league, to Jr. high, to high school and into college. I felt like it’s really where I was meant to be.”
Evans redshirted his first year at UCO, due to a four-time national champion wrestling at his weight. Evans went up a weight the next season and wrestled at 141 pounds the rest of his career.
In his freshman and sophomore seasons Evans compiled a record of 54-18, while winning back-to-back Midwest Regional titles. During his sophomore year Evans finished as the national runner-up. The following offseason was the turning point in his career.
Evans said he decided he was going to focus and take the next step. He started extra workouts, and started competing harder in practice.
“One of my coaches had told me the year before you only get four chances at this, it created a sense of urgency in the way I trained and the way I did things to make the most of the time I had,” Evans said.
As a junior, Evans became the first individual in UCO history to finish a complete season undefeated. He finished 39-0, and capped his perfect season off with a national title. The same year, he led the Bronchos to their 15th team championship. As a senior, Evans repeated as the national champion, going 32-2 and posted a school record 11 technical falls.
Evans ended his career a four-time All-American and two-time national champion, including four straight Midwest Regional titles. Evans won 43 straight matches, spanning from his junior to senior year, and finished with a record of 125-20 for his career. Evans is Central’s all-time leader in technical falls with 25, and ranks fourth in career win percentage at .862.
Evans said his favorite accomplishment by far was the team championship his junior year.
“When you’re a part of a team and it all comes together like that, its still one of the top moments of my life,” Evans said.