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Feb. 24—The sweat on Sean Doyle's singlet hadn't even dried last March when the multi-sport athlete from Kenston made a promise to himself.

Next year, he told himself, would be different.

It's safe to say he has made good on his promise. After an early 0-2 exit in last year's Division II state tournament, Doyle is well on his way to a return trip to Columbus this March with three straight pins to advance to the finals of the sectional tournament that Kenston hosted on Feb. 24. (This story will be updated after the final round).

Couple that with his stellar senior year of football when he helped lead Kenston to a 10-2 record as a first-team Division III All-Ohioan and yeah, it's been a pretty good year for Doyle.

On top of that, Doyle has signed a letter of intent to play college football at Carnegie Mellon University, where he will take his impressive 4.3 grade-point average over the past handful of semesters with an eye on majoring in economics and political science.

That promise he made to himself last spring has certainly been fulfilled.

"You know, my senior year did come up fast," he said after a 28-second pin in the second round of the sectional tournament. "It's a bittersweet feeling knowing it's all coming to an end. I'm just excited that I've improved and followed through on my goals. I just want to leave it all out there and hopefully I'll finish on top."

To get where he is today — 31-7 with with 20 pins — Doyle had to put in some serious work. First of all, he had to cut considerable weight from the 315-pound frame at which he played football this fall. But even though he got down to — and wrestled at — 285 for most of the season, he said he knew he had to make another change in which to be at his optimum levels.

"About a month and a half ago, I felt I was too fat to do what I wanted to do on the mat," he said. "I cut down again while trying to maintain my muscle. Today I weighed in at 265 and I feel great. I feel I have the cardio I need and I got it without losing any strength."

The goal, of course, is to get on the state podium, and to do so as on the highest step he can. He entered this weekend's sectional tournament as the fifth-ranked Division II heavyweight in Ohio per IntermatOhio, but faces a rugged district next weekend. Also in the district bracket Kenston will host are Hoban freshman Brayton Feister, Hawken's Nick Greenberg, Hubbard's Nick Bowser, Harvey's Marvin Guerra and Canfield's Vinny Luce.

All are ranked in Intermat's top 17.

Doyle said his recent cutdown of weight and increased cardio will help him.

"I noticed last year at state that you see many matches end in the first or second period," he said. "There's a lot of thirds and overtime nailbiters. I know I can go harder in the third and overtime and be at a higher level than others at this weight. It has prepared me for the postseason to wrestle how I want."

Most of Doyle's attention, of course, is on this final stretch of wrestling. That being said, he is pretty excited about his future as well, as he will be playing football and getting a top-notch education at the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Doyle said he considered walking on at Iowa, but in the end, a football and educational at Carnegie Mellon was too hard to overlook.

"A very big part of me picking a college was looking at life after college and my career path," he said. "I saw the standard they hold their students to there — the standard they hold their athletes to — and that really sold me."

Doyle said wrestling plays a large part in why he has been so successful on the gridiron. He said he started wrestling to help him get better at football, but said the benefits were more than even he imagined. It's a sport that he will miss greatly when he heads off to college, but he said the benefits of wrestling will follow him to Carnegie Mellon.

"Every aspect of football — physicality, footwork, handwork — wrestling has everything you need regardless of position," he said.

Doyle said as soon as wrestling season is over, he'll head back to the weight room on the lifting regimen the Carnegie Mellon football staff will send him. He'll aim to bulk back up for the rigors of college football.

First comes the next two weeks, which he hopes take him to the top step of the state podium. That's the last step to the promise he made to himself last March.

"With the standard I put myself to, it would mean so much if I could get top eight in Columbus and be All-Ohio in two sports," he said. "To have that all down on paper that I succeeded in all three — football, wrestling and academics — that would mean a lot to me."