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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Photo courtesy of Heidi KinnPhoto courtesy of Heidi Kinn

Kinn's pins keep coming (slideshow 2)

By Anthony Varriano

Ranger-Review Staff Writer

Dawson County High School senior Travis Kinn mowed lawns for three years to raise enough money to travel with a collection of Montana’s best prep wrestlers to Florida and Germany over the summer.

On June 4, Kinn left for the Team Montana Cultural Exchange team tryouts and an intensive camp with other top wrestlers from around Montana. 

The team flew to Orlando on June 11 for the “Disney Duals,” where Kinn wrestled 15 times, winning 14 and pinning 13. His performance earned him All-American honors and the trophy for most pins in his division.

After returning home on June 17, Kinn then traveled to the University of Northern Colorado to wrestle another seven-day camp. Kinn’s mother, Heidi, said Travis will join his brother at the Big XII’s University of Northern Colorado in Greeley to wrestle and enroll in the pre-med program. He will receive both an athletic and academic scholarship, but amounts are yet to be determined.

Kinn returned to Billings to meet up with Team Montana for another wrestling camp and then flew to Germany for freestyle wrestling team duals. The team stayed with host families, and Kinn stayed with three families outside of Munich, outside of Stuttgart, and outside of Ulm for about five days each. 

Despite the long plane ride, working in tours of a concentration camp, castles and cathedrals, and enjoying pretzels, sausages and cheeses, the pins kept coming for Kinn. He pinned all of his opponents and was the cover of the local sports page.

“Some random person came up to me and said, ‘Oh, you’re that group I saw in the newspaper that came to Germany from America,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, that was me on the front cover.’ … It was really cool.”

Kinn said the best part of the trip was getting to know a different, older culture, and seeing how they do things differently in Germany. He also got a chance to face older wrestlers.

“In Germany, it’s a little bit different. I’m pretty sure they just wrestle somebody that’s their weight,” he said. “I’m pretty sure I wrestled somebody that was like 25 one day.”

Despite the age differences, Kinn said the competition was about the same as he’s seen at the Montana State Tournament, where he’s hoping to pick up another state championship — this time at 126 pounds. 

Kinn expects he and teammate Ben Stortz will wrestle at different weights this season, “so we can hopefully win two championships.”

Kinn said the mat time he got over the summer will be key to his success this season and expects his Red Devils squad to be very competitive.

“I’m really excited because we’re going to have a pretty big team this year … The last few years we’ve had a pretty small team, but this year, my senior year, I’m glad it’s coming together,” he said. “I hope it stays like that.”

Reach Anthony Varriano at rrsports@rangerreview.com.

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