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Deluane finds niche in sport of wrestling

Kim Roberts • New Orleans Times-Picayune • Mar 24, 2017 at 9:30 AM

Wrestling was not Metairie, La.-native Kyle Delaune's first sport of choice. Growing up playing at Little Farms Playground he did it all – basketball, baseball, soccer and football.

He didn't hit the wrestling mat until he entered Brother Martin High School in the eighth grade. Since wrestling at Brother Martin, Delaune has gone on to wrestle at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tenn., where he has excelled in the sport and was recently named an All-American wrestler placing sixth in his 184-pound weight class overall in the nation for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) division.

Delaune received this honor during a presentation that was held March 3 in Kansas. At the ceremony, honors were bestowed upon the top eight finishers in each weight class at the 16th annual NAIA Wrestling National Championships.

"I think he liked the idea of competing on a team and as an individual at the same time," Mother Leslie Delaune said. "He had played organized team sports most of his life and wanted the chance to succeed as an individual as well."

While at Brother Martin, Delaune wrestled on both the JV and varsity teams and really started excelling his sophomore year. At the end of the season, he placed fourth at the LHSAA tournament and was named the "Most Improved" wrestler at Brother Martin that year.

Also, since he did not have a back-up wrestler in his weight class, he competed every match and every tournament the school participated in during his five years at Brother Martin.

"I tried out for wrestling at Brother Martin because that was the first sport we could try out for and some of my friends were trying out so I decided to give it a try," Delaune said. "I had never wrestled before, but I liked the individual aspect of wrestling, that I was solely responsible for my successes and failures and still could be part of a team effort."

"Through wrestling I learned discipline. Life is not all fun stuff, you have to sacrifice to get what you want," he said. "Being named an All American is a huge honor and it shows that hard work does pay off and that it will happen if you are willing to put in the work."

The senior marketing major said that a lot of training has gone into his wrestling career, in college he would have one day off a week and other than that would work out two-a-days with two to four hours of practicing at the minimum a day.

Additionally, extra work went into "cutting weight" in order to stay within his weight class.

"I will never forget those super late nights that I knew I had to lose weight so I could wrestle the next day, and calling a team mate at midnight or 2 a.m. to work out with and do whatever exercise I needed to sweat those extra five pounds off," Delaune said. "Nothing bonds a team more than late night workouts."

After high school, Delaune decided to wrestle at the collegiate level and had his choice of schools to choose from and in the end, he chose to attend Cumberland. During his freshman year at the university, he placed fourth at the Mid-South Conference Regional Tournament qualifying him to wrestle at the NAIA National Wrestling tournament. His sophomore year he again qualified to wrestle at NAIA and earned his first All-American title. His junior year he qualified for Nationals and took third place at the Mid-South Conference Regionals.

"I was introduced to Cumberland by my high school assistant coach who was a graduate," Delaune said. "He suggested we take a look and I loved it and decided to go. Actually, two other team mates went to Cumberland as well."

Delaune's collegiate stats are impressive starting with freshman year 26-13 and 18 pins; sophomore year 23-13 and 10 pins; junior year 25-9 and 15 pins and senior season 22-13 and eight pins.

He holds the university's record for the most pins in one season as well as the record for the most career wins - 96. His junior year he earned the school record for the most technical falls.

"While we are proud of Kyle's athletic accomplishments I am most proud of the man he has become and his faith in God that has carried him this far," Kirk Delaune, Kyle's father, said.

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