BEREA Ranked fourth in the country and looking to make his senior season his best one yet, former Green wrestling standout Chris Doyle has burst from the gates for the ninth-ranked Baldwin Wallace Yellow Jackets.
Doyle, wrestling at 125 pounds, is 6-1 on the season and counts a runner-up finish at the New Standard Corporation Invitational hosted by York College among his early results. He traces that early-season success back to the structure and effectiveness of the program’s offseason program under head coach Jamie Gibbs.
"We have a really good summer training prog here at BW. Coach Gibbs hones in on as much wrestling and weightlifting to be as ready as can on the mat and it’s really helped me diversify myself as a wrestler," Doyle said. "You get a lot of good looks in the wrestling room, going up against guys from 125 (pounds) all the way up to 141, and it’s really help myself be ready during every situation I’m in during a wrestling match because you get to experience in as many different wrestling styles as possible."
Doyle is one of the key cogs for a program that has been ranked in the NCAA Division III top 10 all season and knows that a strong start is vital to setting himself up for a successful senior year.
"Starting out season, it’s really important to gain confidence early and also, to know what you have to work on," Doyle said. "I’ve made mistakes and I’m learning from my mistakes, so that’s going to help come regionals and national tournament time. You would rather make mistakes now and be able to hit your peak performance during regions and nationals."
The idea of perfecting his craft as a wrestler is something Doyle thinks about as he winds down his college career and as he does so, he has a longtime friend by his side. Fellow senior wrestler Gabe Mahaney, whom Doyle has known since the two were in youth wrestling together in Green, is likewise wrapping up his college career this season.
Mahaney and Doyle take pride in being able to say they’ve gone to school together and wrestled together for most of their lives and they also live together off-campus at Baldwin Wallace.
Not many college athletes get the chance to have a childhood friend make the journey from high school athletics to college with them and Doyle appreciates the extra time he and Mahaney have had together with both being able to compete in college athletics.
As their time competing side by side winds down, he’s also trying to enjoy what’s left of it.
"It’s kid of poetic in a way. We grew up together and since I met Gabe in the fifth grade, we’ve gone through the trials and tribulations together of high school successes and losses and made the transition to college," Doyle said. "It seems just yesterday we were in youth wrestling together not knowing what we were doing. I was really happy have someone off bat in college who I knew really well and it made the transition a lot easier. It allowed branch out a lot more because I’ve always had game as one of my best friends here, so I could express self in a way I didn’t get to in high school."
With the excitement of sharing their senior season comes the realization that once the campaign ends and the spring semester not long after, the two will be heading separate ways as they earn their degrees, graduate and move into the next chapter of their lives.
Doyle, who is a business management major with a minor in economics and health care, hopes to work in the health care industry in a management or leadership role of some kind. He’s also searching for opportunities in the sales or marketing areas of the health care industry and has an internship as a junior consultant at the Center for Innovation and Growth that he hopes will help prepare him for his first job after graduation.
When it comes to the knowledge that in a few months, he and Mahaney will each wrestle their last collegiate match and after that, he will walk across the stage at commencement and officially turn the corner into life after college, Doyle admits that it will be bittersweet, but he believes the two men’s bond will last long after they leave campus.
"It’s reality, but I don’t fear that we’ll lose contact or anything. I don’t think that relationship will ever die," Doyle said. "We’re both men about it and we know that he’s going one way and I’ll going the other, so it will be sad, but I think we’ll shake hands and be men about it and I’ll continue to stay connected with him."
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