Athletic couple signs letters of intent for college

Having been at each other's sides throughout high school, Kale Knezovich and Allysa Drinkle were once again at each other's sides when they each signed their letters of intent to pursue their athletic careers in college. 

Kale recently signed his letter of intent to wrestle with the National Championship winning Mustangs at Western Wyoming Community College, while Allysa signed her letter of intent to cheer with the Cowboys Spirit Squad at the University of Wyoming. 

Kale and Allysa have been a couple for "a long time," according to their families, so it was natural for them to recognize and celebrate their letter of intent signings together. While they will continue to support and cheer each other on from different sides of the state, they also made their college choices based on what was right for each of them in both the athletic and career fields they hope to pursue. 

Wrestling with the Mustangs

After being a four-time State Champion while wrestling with the Green River High School Wolves, deciding where to wrestle in college wasn't hard.

"I had a couple schools in mind, but Western was definitely high up there, especially being 15 minutes away and being the two-time national champs, so it was kind of an easy pick," he explained. 

Kale plans to study business while he is at Western, and is thinking of one day becoming a financial advisor. But for now, he's excited for the chances he'll have as part of the wrestling team.

His parents, Tony and Chantel Knezovich, are also excited for the opportunities he'll have through Western. 

"It was the one I was rooting for for a long time," Tony said. "I just kind of tried to keep out of it, though. I wanted him to make the decision. He probably had about 15 different colleges reach out to him, and some pretty good offers as far as scholarships go, but I think he made the right decision."

Tony added that he believes Western's wrestling program under Head Coach Art Castillo is one of the best programs in the nation, even compared to Division 1 schools. Chantel agrees, and is also happy with Kale's choice. 

"I'm so excited he's going with Art and his program," Chantel said. "They're very successful, they're education-driven, so it's just gonna be a great fit for him."

Chantel pointed out that Coach Art cares about the wrestlers in his program and works to make sure they see success both on the mat and in their studies. 

"This program is not just great in wrestling, it's great as a whole," she said. 

Both parents also admitted that it will be nice for Kale to be able to stay close to home. 

Kale also appreciates the closeness and the connections it brings, like the fact that one of his best friends is also wrestling at Western right now. But wrestling has always been a part of strong connections throughout Kale's entire life, and he explained it's something he's grown up with.

"My brother's done it, my dad's done it, so I've just always known it," he said. 

Wrestling in high school, Kale enjoyed getting to participate in tournaments and duals, and enjoyed being a State Champion. But one of the things that stood out to him the most was the support he received. 

"The whole community really has your back," Kale said. 

One of the biggest lessons he's learned in his time wrestling is that there's always "a bigger fish," and the competition can push you to achieve more. 

"Everyone's always tough, so just keep trying to work as hard as you can and just be the best that you can," he explained. 

Kale's ability to work hard and keep improving is part of what made him stand out during his time with the Wolves, and GRHS Head Wrestling Coach Josh Wisniewski praised him for his talent and his character. 

"Some of my favorite things about Kale are just the way he conducts himself around the team and in practice, the leadership skills that he has, and the way he talks to the guys and builds them up," Wisniewski said.

Kale's love for wrestling is also evident, according to the Coach, and his hard work has led to impressive achievements. Winning his fourth State title his senior year was the first time that accomplishment had been achieved at GRHS. And even after having a severe shoulder injury and having to have surgery and go through rehab, Kale has continued to persevere. 

"He's got great character, skills, and he's just a great person," Wisniewski said. "I'm excited to see what he accomplishes in the future, and not just wrestling, anything in life. I'm excited for him." 

Cheering with the Cowboys

Like Kale, Allysa decided to stay in Wyoming for her college education. She knew she wanted to be able to stay relatively close to home and her family, but also knew that she wanted to continue to cheer. 

"When I went to a couple of the Wyoming games this last fall and I saw how much they're involved with their crowd and just how much they do, I really narrowed it down and was like, 'this is where I want to go,'" she explained. 

Allysa was able to visit the University of Wyoming campus multiple times for clinics and other events.

"I met the team and the coaches and I just felt like we all connected really well and it just went really good," she said. 

Knowing that she wanted to cheer with the UW Cowboys Spirit Squad, Allysa underwent the three-day process of tryouts. The first day included a fitness test and open mat time. Over the next two days, those trying out had to learn and perform a cheer, a dance, and a stunt sequence, as well as doing jumps and tumbling. 

After her tryout, Allysa felt especially positive that her stunt had gone perfectly, and she was confident in her dance and cheer and believed that her tumbling had been good.

"I thought I did my best and I was happy with whatever happened," she said. 

What happened was Allysa getting a spot on the cheer team. 

"I'm looking forward to the more advanced skills that we get to do," she said, thinking ahead to cheering at UW. "Stunting has always been my favorite, so I'm really excited to be able to advance in that area. But I'm also really looking forward to the game day atmosphere that Wyoming has to offer."

While at UW, Allysa plans to study pre-dental with plans to one day become an orthodontist. But while she pursues her future, she's excited to continue cheering, which she has enjoyed throughout high school. 

Although she's been tumbling since she was little, Allysa pursued other sports like basketball and volleyball in middle school. But when she reached high school, she decided she wanted to go back to her love for tumbling, but also try something new. So she tried out for cheer as a freshman, and immediately loved it. 

Allysa's head coach when she joined the Wolves Cheer team was Allison Luna, and Allison specifically remembers Allysa auditioning. That year, auditions were hosted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And although she wasn't there in person, Allysa stood out.

"Even from a video I knew right then that she was going to be perfect," Allison explained. 

She remembers being able to tell that Allysa's fun and bubbly personality perfectly matched what people typically expect in a cheerleader. But beyond that, Allison noted Allysa's willingness to do anything she was asked, and eagerness to jump right in. 

"She always wanted to figure out how she could be the best cheerleader possible so that her skills would grow," Allison said. "She is hardworking. She's wonderful." 

Allison said she isn't a bit shocked that Allysa is pursuing cheer in college, and she is excited for her to have the chance to keep learning new skills and pushing her boundaries. 

"I knew she would go do big things," Allison said. "I think she'll just glow and grow when it comes to being in front of big crowds and that energy, so I just think she's going to continue to strive and just get better and better."

 

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