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Hy-Vee Athlete of the Week: Olathe North wrestler Kaylan Hitchcock wins state title coached by father

Daddy-daughter duo picks up 1st state title in girl's wrestling in school history
Kaylan Hitchcock
Posted at 3:54 PM, Mar 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-03 10:40:37-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Winning a state title is special on its own, but winning one alongside his child was always a dream for Olathe North wrestling coach Dylan Hitchcock.

"I was always thinking — how cool it would be to have one of your boys be a state champion one day," he said. "Well, I had the coach's curse, I thought at the time. I had two girls, which turned out to be the biggest blessing."

Flash forward and his oldest daughter, Kaylan, is now a state champion — a feat she accomplished as a sophomore.

"After I heard the final whistle, it was like emotion just flooded over me," Kaylan said.

On Feb. 23, 2023, Kaylan went 8-0 to claim the state title for the Eagles and became the only girl in school history to do so.

What was even more special — she did so alongside her dad, or as she calls him on the mat, "coach."

Coach Hitchcock described the moment he watched his daughter accomplish her ultimate goal.

"Counting down and clapping, and like pointing to my parents in the stands, and my wife, almost before the clock was even over," he said.

Kaylan was originally supposed to attend Olathe South, but instead chose to follow her dad to Olathe North.

The sophomore said there were main reasons to choose Olathe North.

Those included being coached by her dad, and to pursue a career in sports medicine, a program offered by the school.

"I went to the same middle school as my mom, so I liked the idea of my parents being at the same school as me," she said.

As a freshman, Kaylan took her talents all the way to state, only to fall short in the state title match.

This season, she knew how to better combat the nerves leading into match day.

Kaylan credits her Sports Medicine studies at Olathe North, specifically her dad's sports psychology class, which taught her different techniques to prepare.

"Obviously, I was a little bit emotional in the moment," Kaylan said. "Like all my hard work had paid off and the road to success had kind of finally hit."

A road that couldn't have been traveled just a short time ago, as state titles in Kansas weren't even sanctioned for girls until 2020.

Despite growing up around the sport of wrestling, Kaylan never thought of wrestling herself until those opportunities were made possible.

"I would go to every state championship with the boys, I'd mess around with them on the mats like that and stuff when I was little," she said. "So when he (Coach Hitchcock) told me they were adding girls wrestling as a sport, I kind of took it into consideration and was like maybe I can do this."

Kaylan was a natural, picking up the sport in just a few years. Now that she sits at the pinnacle, she's only hungry for more.

"I have coached nine different individuals at the state title, but nothing compares to the fact that I get that special hug at the end," Coach Hitchcock said.

As for the future, Kaylan has set her goals on winning two more state titles.

Kaylan and her dad are hoping to finish high school as a three-peat.

They'll continue to do so with lots of practice and preparation, some of which they share on their podcast called "Sudden Victory." The podcast is dedicated to Kansas girls wrestling.