KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Meet Blake Jouret, a dual athlete out of Olathe South High School.
"I loved football, I only got to play it one year, but for me It's always been wrestling," Jouret said
The senior impressed his coaches early when entering the ninth grade both on the field and on the mat. Outgoing head football coach Craig Lewis* and head wrestling coach Conor Fitzgerald can both agree, Jouret caught their attention early on.
"When he was a freshman, he was an outstanding... I mean we were looking at him like, 'oh my gosh, this kid is going to start for us as a sophomore,'" Lewis said.
"One of the most gifted athletes I've ever spent any time with, he's just special in that regard, number two he works incredibly hard, number three he comes from a fantastic family," Fitzgerald said.
The senior was raised by a family of athletes. His father was a division one wrestler at the University of Oklahoma and his brother was an All-State wrestler at Olathe South.
"I'd be challenging him or my dad to matches and it didn't go well for me for a long," Jouret said.
Jouret added it was that "tough love" upbringing that made him a better athlete.
As he started off his high school career he had big ambitions, hoping to make an impact on the football field as well as the wrestling mat, but his shoulder had other plans.
"So I came in thinking 'Man I want to be that,' I wanted to be that from Freshman year, but I dealt with some injury, my shoulder," Jouret said.
Fitzgerald said Blake handled the injury like a professional, working both mentally and physically to get back as soon as possible, but unfortunately surgery put an end to his time as a running back.
"He had a torn labrum, so he had shoulder injury which took him through the football season to get back for wrestling," Fitzgerald said.
Jouret sidelined his career on the field to focus on his skill set as a wrestler instead.
"I got the surgery and my shoulder stayed intact and my junior year was the year things turned around," Jouret said. "I was like, man I could be really good at this."
Fitz said once Blake locked in, there was no stopping him.
"He's a big strong kid, but there's a lot of big strong kids out there his separator is his explosiveness and his foot speed," Fitz said.
Lewis, who continued to work with Blake during his high school career added that his work ethic has helped him succeed.
"He works hard, and this is the one thing does and just embraces and works out and enjoys everything you have to do to be successful," Lewis said.
The Falcon did just that and found success quickly, snagging All-State honors and the state title as a junior.
"Blake's love for the sport of wrestling keeps him constantly curious. He wants to continue to learn and develop and grow," Fitz said.
Jouret agreed that his mentality has helped him grow as an athlete.
"I like to think I'm a little crazy," he said. "Things that don't necessarily make sense or shouldn't be motivating.... I'll hear I'm like yeah I can do that"
And maybe if he's just crazy enough he'll take the state title again next month, giving himself one last chance to celebrate alongside his teammates.
"The bonds you make in wrestling are like none other... just suffering together, everyday in that room.... you love it," Jouret said.
Editor's Note: Craig Lewis, the outgoing head football coach at Olathe South, is the father of Hayley Lews.