Kyle Gladieux is only a few days shy of turning 18 years old, but he already has his future mapped out.
Gladieux, Cardinal Stritch's 160-pound senior wrestling standout, has the grades (3.5 GPA) and pedigree to go into the medical field. His mom, Nancy, is a pharmacy technician.
"I want to go to the University of Toledo to study to be an RN," Gladieux said. "I really like the hospital setting, and there's always going to be a job. And, I like the scrubs. The scrubs are comfortable."
Comfort is just about the last thing Gladieux, a two-time state qualifier, allows his opponents to feel on the mat.
Gladieux will take a 30-1 record into Saturday's Division III sectional tournament at Elmwood High School. Gladieux has pinned 27 foes.
"He really goes and gets after them," ninth-year Stritch coach Dave Wlodarz said. "He is the kind of guy who wants to pin a kid. He goes after it. He goes out there to pin people. That's what he does. He's really tough on top and he knows how to turn people really well."
"I ride the legs a lot," Gladieux said. "That's just the kind of wrestler I am. It's kind of a brutal form, but it's easier to pin kids from there than just regular wrestling."
The Brakeman Report projects the 5-10 Gladieux to place fourth at the state tournament. Gladieux's only loss this season came in January, to three-time Division I state-placer Pierce Harger of Cincinnati Moeller. The Brakeman has Harger projected as the D-I state runner-up at 152.
Last weekend, Gladieux was named the Ohio Wrestling League's Wrestler of the Year after winning the 160-pound title at the OWL tournament at Stritch. Gladieux pinned Cory-Rawson's Ben Niese in 2:19 in the title match.
"That was an accomplishment," Gladieux said of winning the award. "It's always nice to be 'something of the year.' "
Gladieux was a state qualifier as a freshman, at 135 pounds, and qualified again last season at 152. He put everything he had into winning a state championship as a junior, but it didn't happen.
After winning sectional and district titles - he had three pins at the district tournament - Gladieux won his first-round match at the state tournament, 9-5, before facing eventual state runner-up Kyle Burns of Troy Christian in the second round.
Burns emerged with an 8-6 overtime win, and Gladieux was crushed.
"It was very difficult for him to bounce back after that loss," Wlodarz said. "Kyle was heartbroken and it took a lot of his energy right out of him, and that's what he thrives on. When he lost and he knew he wasn't going to be the champion, he didn't care anymore."
Gladieux's opportunity to place at the state tournament ended when he lost his ensuing match, 5-2, to West Jefferson's Sean Prather, who ended up eighth.
"I was just down on myself," Gladieux said. "That's something I've been working for my whole life, a state title. I didn't wrestle 100 percent (against Prather), but it's not like I went out there and lost on purpose. I don't work to get second or third or fourth place. I work to get first place. That's my ultimate goal."
Gladieux, a first-team Toledo Area Athletic Conference running back/defensive back last fall, when he was named the TAAC defensive player of the year, said he's taken a "completely different attitude about wrestling" this season.
"It's all about having fun," he said. "I'm not going to jump off a bridge if I lose. I'm out there to have fun and whatever happens, happens. I'm going to try my hardest and the wrestling will take care of itself. That makes more sense than just throwing it away."
Wlodarz said he admires many of Gladieux's traits, both on and off the mat. When it comes to wrestling, the coach said he likes the fact that his team co-captain (junior 189-pounder David Szymanski is also a captain) has a take-no-prisoners mentality.
"He's old school, and that's what I like about him," Wlodarz said. "He wrestles on the rough side. He's a pretty tough kid, but the thing I like most about him is he puts so much energy into a match. It's just impressive to watch. Speaking as his coach and a person who loves wrestling, you like to see a kid go out there and give everything he's got. You know Kyle will always give you everything he's got."
Gladieux is optimistic about what level of success he'll have on the mat from this point forward. As far as he's concerned, his senior season is going according to plan.
"I've been working out real hard, and the tournaments are going pretty good," Gladieux said. "This is just how you want your season to go. My conditioning is really improving and I've been working on my weaknesses and improving every day. I'm staying positive and not letting little things get in the way, and I'm staying out of trouble. You have to just keep hoping for the best."