When Kyle Summerfield was wrestling in high school, he had a successful career.
The Hartland wrestler held a 181-40 career record and was a two-time All-State wrestling performer. He was one of many outstanding wrestlers at Hartland who helped the Eagles maintain their status as one of the state’s finest wrestling programs.
Eight years later, Summerfield is back, beginning a new chapter in his wrestling life. After spending about four years in Texas, Summerfield got married and moved back to the tri-county area this summer. He’s currently working within his family’s business. He’s also Linden’s new varsity wrestling coach, replacing Todd Skinner, who resigned the position in June.
Summerfield will be holding a town hall-format meeting at Linden High School’s gymnasium on Wednesday at 6 p.m. for all students and parents. Summerfield is excited to take over the Linden program.
“Historically they had one of the area’s better programs,” Summerfield said. “Coach Skinner ran a successful program for 20 years and now I’ll try to build on his foundation, create a new era of Linden wrestling and take it to the next level.”
Linden athletic director Greg Durkac said three candidates were interviewed by a five-member board. Durkac said it was a unanimous decision.
“He was very impressive during the interview,” Durkac said. “It was a unanimous decision to hire Kyle. His energy and organizational skills, his passion for the sport, along with his ability to articulate and focus on family, the athlete’s health and nutrition … were impressive.”
What Summerfield has accomplished since graduating from Hartland High School in 2009 has been pretty impressive as well. He has eight years of youth wrestling experience, including two years with the Hartland wrestling Club, three years with Michigan Extreme, two years with Team Leonidas and one year with the Viking Wrestling Club. His first high school coaching position came at Sparta High School during the 2012-13 season as an assistant wrestling coach, and was the head coach for the Team District champion Northview High School squad in 2013-14.
Summerfield moved to Katy, Texas in July 2014 and became an assistant wrestling coach at Seven Lakes High School, earning assistant coach of the year honor for the state of Texas. He taught social studies while there and was named First Year Teacher of the Year.
For the 2016-17 school year he moved to Lanier High School where he had a team of just five returning wrestlers, but by the end of the season had 40 wrestlers on the squad. The team was successful as well, earning a team district title as well as finishing eight at the state dual championships.
During the summer, Summerfield, married and moved back to Michigan, eventually accepting the Linden wrestling position. He is also creating a new youth program for wrestlers between the ages of 6 and 14 called Summit Wrestling.
“Our high school team will work with the club hand-in-hand, helping out the young men and women in the club,” Summerfield said. “One of the big things in the program is family. We want to build a culture from a young age to high school that these people are part of the Linden team and are part of the Linden family. There are kids who are 5-, 6-, 7- and 8-years old who idolize him and her (the high school wrestlers) and being a face they can talk to makes a world of difference.”
Summerfield said many of the principles he will bring to the Linden program involve those he learned while in youth wrestling while being coached by his father Kelly Summerfield and fellow Hartland Wrestling Club coach Jerry Bommarito.
Summerfield was an outstanding student-athlete himself. He earned Academic All-State honors and was named The State Bank’s Co-Male Athlete of the year in June 2009. He also was a standout football and baseball player while at Hartland.
Summerfield replaces Skinner, who began his wrestling coaching career at Linden in 1999. During his time in the position he led the Eagles to the team state tournament twice, advancing as far as the Division 2 state semifinals in 2007. Skinner won more than 300 dual matches in his tenure. Skinner was placed on administrative leave and initially fought to remain the varsity wrestling coach. However, he eventually resigned the position, opening the door for Summerfield’s hiring.
“As a member of the school district and the community and as the athletic director I’m excited to have Kyle as part of our Linden family,” Durkac said.