LEMOORE — A packed event center at Lemoore High School saw William Kloster sign his National Letter of Intent to wrestle at California Polytechnic State University on Tuesday.
The senior, multi-sport athlete — donning a green Cal Poly polo — was surrounded by family, friends and teammates, during his crowning achievement. The table featured Mustangs apparel on one side and Tigers wrestling apparel on the other. A Lemoore High first-place wrestling duals trophy completed the scenery.
Before signing, the future Mustang took a moment and said a few words of thanks to his coaches and family for helping him reach his goals.
“It’s an amazing experience that I for sure will never forget,” Kloster said after signing. “It’s something that’s going to be special to me for the rest of my life.”
Pizza and cupcakes were in order after the ceremony for those in attendance, along with plenty of hugs, handshakes and thankful banter between friends. Kloster’s teammates cheerfully shouted “D-I” to signify him becoming a Division-I athlete.
Kloster, who’s been wrestling since the fifth grade, said getting to the next level was always a goal for him, but it didn’t become a real possibility for the Tiger until he started performing at a higher level last year.
“It was just a confidence thing with me,” Kloster said. “Wrestling’s a big mental game and once I turned that corner last year, I really discovered, ‘Wow, I’m a really good wrestler.’ It just kept me rolling throughout the season and helped me have a very successful season.”
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Turning the corner helped him finish eighth overall in the CIF State Wrestling Championships as a junior last season. Now, the 5-foot-9-inch, 175-pound Kloster will get to wrestle in college, while having his education paid for via scholarship. It’s something that makes his father, Joshua Kloster, happy.
“We’re really proud of him and your wrestling or football or baseball, basketball career, what it be, only lasts so long and after that he’s going to have a degree that he can have for the rest of his life, so that’s very important to us,” the elder Kloster said.
Joshua Kloster, a 1991 graduate of Lemoore High School himself and the current football coach, added that the journey has been a long and grueling one for his son, but knowing all the hard work has paid off is a great feeling for their family.
“The journey and the process to get where he’s at now — the Central Valley is a mecca here for athletics as far as wrestling and the best wrestlers are coming from the Central Valley — so it’s been a struggle at times, it’s been up and down with hills and valleys, but at the end right now he’s vying for a state championship and he gets to get his education paid for, so it’s made it worth it,” Joshua Kloster said.
Before settling on Cal Poly, where he’ll major in agricultural engineering, William Kloster said he looked at Cal Baptist, Oregon State and even Stanford for a bit, but at the end of the day, Cal Poly was the right fit for him.
Not only did he fall in love with the campus during his official visit in October, but one of the biggest deciding factors was the job head coach Jon Sioredas and assistant coach Chris Chionuma have done.
“They’re putting the program back on a path to success and I see my recruiting class, the recruiting class before me, is just really stacked and the potential’s there,” William Kloster said. “The school for education is perfect for me and it’s not too far away from home.”
And what is he looking forward to with college competition?
“Just competing,” William Kloster said. “Just going out there and being able to say I’m a Division I wrestler and really help me unlock the next level of potential that I have that I need to get to.”
Noe Garcia can be reached at (559) 583-2431 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noe on Twitter at @noecarlosgarcia.