Koda King: "An exceptionally positive and contagious attitude"

Feb. 1—Ronan High School's boys wrestling team is having a great year, and junior Koda King is in the thick of it, wrestling in the 152-pound class.

"Wrestling is pretty much my life right now," King said. "I take school pretty seriously, too. I prioritize them equally. "

His schedule is intense: wake up, work out, go to school, work out, study, then go to bed. Repeat.

A highly motivated student athlete, King is the recipient of the Winslow Nichols Leadership Award from Logan Health. It comes with a $250 check that King can give to the organization of his choice.

RHS science teacher Chris Briske nominated King.

"Koda is a hero among dozens of younger students who have benefited from his coaching in Little Guy and middle school wrestling," she writes. "He has used his status to emphasize the importance of school, sports and being drug free... He has an exceptionally positive and contagious attitude."

Briske wrote that "not only does he put his all into sports, but he has also maintained a 4.0 while challenging himself with Honors Program classes."

King especially enjoys history and math.

"I've always liked math. I have statistics this year, and it's interesting," he said. "Then human biology with Miss Briske, that one is my favorite class."

While workouts, classes and wrestling tournaments occupy much of his time, King also thinks about his post high school plans. The military might be his first step, since he's had letters from the Coast Guard Academy and the United States Military Academy West Point. His eventual goal is to be a physical therapist.

Asked about a favorite book, King said he's enjoying "Huckleberry Finn," which his class is reading in Honors English. His favorite book, though, is "Green Light," a semi-biographical book by Matthew McConaughey, which resonated with King.

He's also involved in lots of extracurriculars, such as cross country, jazz band, 4-H mentoring, HOSA-Future Health Professionals, Aim Higher Leadership Course, and National Honor Society.

"I actually really like cross country," King said, adding that the sport is similar to wrestling in that "it's an individual sport, but you want to do well to help your team out."

King played football, too, but he had quite a few concussions so "I had to let go of football to focus on wrestling."

Lots of good coaches, such as wrestling coach Dylan Kramer, and other supporters have helped him on his wrestling trajectory.

He had many thanks for "John Neiss, who has coached me since I started wrestling when I was 5. He's a good friend of my mom's, and he's helped me out a lot."

King shared his own method for preparing to wrestle.

"I just always try to stay positive. If there's something negative or something I can't control, I try not to let it bother me or think about it, really. If it's not gonna get me better or improve myself, I'm not gonna waste time on it."

He shares his approach with younger wrestlers, who King thinks are "pretty comfortable" around him.

"I try to be the same with everybody," he said, adding that they ask him a lot of questions. "I'm fine with it," King smiled. "I try to give them how I look at it, and sometimes they take it, and sometimes they don't. I'd rather give it to them and have them not take it than not give it to them."

Landon Bishop and Tristan Fisher, both seniors, and King are Ronan Chiefs team captains and team leaders.

"We all kind of have similar views and goals," he said, and these goals include always doing your best, which differs from person to person.

King's personal goal this year is to be state champion, but an injury the first weekend of wrestling dampened his ambition.

"I broke my hip," King said. "The docs told me I was too strong. The muscle pulled a chunk off the hip (bone), but not in a detrimental spot so it healed up."

"I'm gonna do my best," he added. "And if I can do it, I'll be happy with myself."