Wrestler Labeau becomes 1st Black individual from BHS to qualify for State


Senior Kamryn Labeau recently qualified to wrestle at the state meet at the University of Illinois’ State Farm Center.

Brynn Kirkland, Staff Writer

Senior Kamryn Labeau recently qualified for the state meet in wrestling, becoming the first black individual to qualify from BHS. He competed at the State Farm Center in Champaign on Feb. 17.

Being the first from BHS to break that racial barrier, Labeau was thrilled to have the opportunity to compete at state. 

“It’s probably one of the best things to ever happen to me in my life,” Labeau said. “It’s helped me decide that I want to go to college.”

Labeau is thinking of attending the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh this upcoming fall to continue his wrestling career. 

Although he did not place at the state meet, his qualification is still a huge accomplishment in itself.

“As soon as I arrived at state, I felt like I was in a movie,” Labeau said. “Just seeing how big the stadium was and how many people were watching, I could feel that the entire weekend I was out there was going to be one of the best.”

Labeau started wrestling in fourth grade for the Warrior Monks Wrestling Club at the Ken-Rock Community Center in Rockford. His father had wrestled himself, and because of that, he put Kamryn and his brothers in the travel team wrestling program. 

Labeau earned a 29-7 record this year, and he used wrestling to motivate himself to keep up his grades. 

“This year my goal was to be more focused school-wise,” Labeau said.

With the motivation of wanting to remain eligible for his grandfather, having to overcome multiple academic challenges and making sure to attend his classes has taught him to be persistent and reliable.

“I’ve always loved wrestling, but this year I wanted to do it for my grandpa because he has always been super supportive,” Labeau said. “I made sure that I did everything I had to – whether it was eating right, going to class, or taking practice more seriously. I would never skip a practice.”

In Labeau’s sophomore and junior years he did not compete; however, this year he made an active change with his academics in order to be allowed to compete. 

“I wasn’t really thinking about state that much just because I took two years off,” Labeau said. “Then after the season started, I saw how good I had become even after two years, and I realized that state was definitely the goal.”

Labeau hopes that his accomplishments will show other individuals that overcoming personal challenges and adversity within the school community is always possible.