When former Lakeside High School wrestling coach Randy Hill needed some help with a wrestling camp this summer, he called on former Panthers standouts Justin Otis and Tim Mitchum.
He also asked Kyle Tau.
"He kind of fits with those guys," Hill said.
Tau, who recently graduated from Lakeside, made official on June 20 his commitment to wrestle at East Georgia College next season.
Tau was the 2008 Region 3-AAAA champion at 189 pounds and finished among the top eight wrestlers at the Class AAAA state championships.
He might have had a better showing if not for a separated collarbone suffered two weeks prior. Doctors told Tau to take it easy and let the injury heal. He would have none of it.
"It was my senior year," Tau said. "I wanted to wrestle."
Tau was able to compete but not up to his standards. He wanted a state title and said some of the wrestlers he fell to at state he'd beaten the previous summer.
The collarbone held him back. Tau said he doesn't think the injury is entirely healed, adding that he can still feel the effects from time to time.
But he doesn't regret continuing to wrestle.
"I was proud to make it that far," he said.
East Georgia's wrestling program is in its fourth year as a member of the National Collegiate Wrestling Association, the governing body for non-NCAA wrestling programs.
Bobcats coach Reid Derr said his first two seasons consisted of trying to interest potential walk-ons to join the team.
He said recruiting wrestlers of Tau's skill level will help build the program.
"He's a good solid wrestler," Derr said. "That's what we're looking for."
Derr said he was looking at wrestling Tau at 174 pounds but is not going to push for it. Tau wrestled at 189 his junior and senior years at Lakeside.
The Bobcats wrestle at 174, 184 and 197. Derr said Tau could choose his weight class.
"These kids have enough to adjust to," Derr said. "Wrestling on top of that is a lot of work."
In addition to wrestling, Tau played football and lacrosse at Lakeside. If he had his choice, he said he'd probably choose football. But when Derr expressed interest in January, Tau knew which sport he'd stick with.
"I wanted to wrestle in college," Tau said. "I just didn't know if anyone was watching."
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