Kale Knezovich, Green River’s First Four-Time State Champion Wrestler

Kale Knezovich, Green River’s First Four-Time State Champion Wrestler

Kale Knezovich. SweetwaterNOW photo by Stephanie Peterson

GREEN RIVER – The Green River Wolves have historically had one of the most competitive wrestling programs in Wyoming. Some GRHS alumni have grown to become prominent names in the wrestling scene, like Western Wyoming Community College’s head wrestling coach Art Castillo. Senior Kale Knezovich just added himself to the list of greats last weekend when he won his fourth individual state championship, the first Wolf to ever do so.

He also helped lead the Wolves to their second straight state championship, the first time the Wolves have won two in a row since 2016-2017 when they were in 4A. The Wolves have now won 19 state titles which is only outmatched by Star Valley’s 25 titles.

Knezovich spoke to SweetwaterNOW this week about his wrestling career, which included him going 106-20 in his four years at high school, and asked the Green River native what drove him to become a wrestler.

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Who made me first want to start wrestling was mainly my dad because he had put my older brother into it. I had grown into watching wrestling my entire life as well as my dad wrestling his entire life it was a generational thing.

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Knezovich faced adversity this year as he went down with a bad shoulder injury during the first few weeks of the season.

This year was a rough season, especially going to tournaments and watching the people compete in my weight class, thinking that I could be winning them. When I finally had the chance to come back I was a little nervous because I did not know how well I would be able to wrestle with a torn labrum.

Even with the bad shoulder injury, head wrestling coach Josh Wisniewski was not surprised by Knezovich’s comeback and was impressed with his determination to become Green River’s first four-time state champion.

Kale is one of the most competitive people I have been around. When he hurt his shoulder in his first match of the season he said ‘I’ll be back no matter what.’ His determination, resilience and grit were a big part of the reason that he was able to make it back and compete. Was it easy? Absolutely not! He did everything possible he could to rehab and get the shoulder strong. Then he had to get back into wrestling shape too, which is not easy! All of these things he did while also being a great student and member of the community. Was I surprised that he bounced back? Not at all if you know the type of person Kale is. Kale’s passion for the sport of wrestling, leadership, and character is inspiring. Not only to his teammates and coaches but for the young wrestlers in the community that will be future Wolves. I am very proud of him and happy he was able to achieve his goal of being the first four-time state champ at Green River High School. 

-Josh Wisniewski

Knezovich has been wrestling since a very young age and he always wanted to be one of the most dominant wrestlers in GRHS history. He talked about what it means to him to have reached this milestone in his great career so far.

It means everything to be the first four-time state champ at GRHS. It had always been a goal of mine since I was seven, I just never thought that I would be the first because growing up I had watched the greats wrestle like the Cole Verners and the Peyton Tuckers, just hoping that I could be as dominant as them.

Knezovich was not the only four-time state champion in the state this year though. He was also joined by Rock Springs’ Broc Fletcher as well as Antonio Avila of Thunder Basin. This is the first time one graduation class has had three four-time state wrestlers in Wyoming history. It is also the first time in Wyoming that one county had two four-time state champions in the same year. Knezovich thinks his graduating class is the best that Wyoming has had.

Yes, I do believe that my graduating class is the best that Wyoming has seen because of the amount of four, three, and two-time state champs that this class achieved.

Knezovich may have been the one on the mat each time he wrestled, but he understands that he couldn’t have done this alone and wants to thank the many people who have helped him along the way.

I would like to thank my dad first off for always being my coach on the mat as well as in life, and my coaches Wisniewski, Hoopes, Rhodes, and Eric for always pushing me to be the greatest that I could be. My mom for always making sure that I am packed and ready to go for my tournaments. My uncle Clay for being the funniest and coolest guy that I know. My best friend Tommy who has been with me since the start. Last but not least, my girlfriend Allysa for always supporting me and being someone that I could joke around with whatever the circumstance.

As Knezovich finishes his high school career, he plans on going to college and wrestling but he is still determining where he will go at the moment. Even with all these accomplishments, he still looks back at his sophomore year and remembers his favorite memory in wrestling: when he and his best friend Tommy Dalton won state together.

Knezovich will be an athlete many kids from Green River look up to. Knezovich said if there was something he could tell himself when he was younger would be to keep working, no matter how hard it gets, and to always believe in yourself.