It was not long ago that Michael Kemerer was a much smaller and younger wrestler who had dreams of PIAA Gold. Now a stronger and older Kemerer has committed to the Iowa Hawkeyes but still has dreams of PIAA Gold.
This season is about having fun one last time at Franklin Regional High School with a group of seniors who will go down in history. Four short years ago Michael began his career as a highly touted freshman and has not let down. To this point he is a 3x PIAA State finalist but isn’t concerned about getting the “monkey off his back” in his fourth and final try.
Moving up to 145 lbs. this season Michael has already accomplished one of his season goals by capturing his first career Walsh Ironman Championship.
I caught up with Kemerer before the season and asked him about his senior season.
You are entering your senior season as a 3x PIAA State Runner-up having very close defeats in all three appearances. What is your mindset going into the season on getting past that barrier and earning a PIAA State Championship?
My mindset going into this season is to have fun and wrestle because I love the sport, and not because I have not won a state title yet. I am confident that my training atmosphere has put me in the position to be successful, and that my results this year will be a result of how hard that I have worked. With that in mind, I can forget about there being a “monkey on my back” and simply relax and wrestle hard.
You began your career at 106 lbs. as a freshman, what weight will you be competing at this season?
I will wrestle 145 lbs.
There is a good chance you will be facing Vincenzo Joseph multiple times again this season – as someone you have faced throughout your youth and high school career would you call him a rival?
I would say that it is a rivalry in that we have crossed paths a lot over our high school careers and gone back and forth. We have been friends and training together since we were little, so off of the mat, there are no hard feelings between us. I think we both understand that wrestling is an individual sport and that we both want to win every match that we wrestle, against a friend or any opponent.
Speaking of rivalries you recently committed to compete for the Iowa Hawkeyes. What influenced your decision on Iowa over other big name Division I programs.
I think that the University of Iowa is the best place for me to achieve my goals. I really enjoyed a lot of the schools that I visited, and it caused me to commit later than a number of kids. However, in the end, it was just the legacy that is Iowa wrestling and the relationship that the coaches have with their athletes that pulled me in that direction. It was one of those things in life where you know you have to make a tough decision, but once you make the decision, you feel it was much simpler than it originally seemed.
What are your individual goals for this season?
Individually, I want to score points and push my attacks on every opponent that I wrestle. Of course, the big tournaments like Ironman, Powerade, and the state tournament test your abilities more. My main goal, however, is to keep my approach simple and improve in every match in which I wrestle and continue to get better. The wins will come if I can stick to an offensive-minded philosophy.
Last season you helped lead Franklin Regional to their first ever PIAA State Dual Team Championship. With Bethlehem Catholic moving from Class AA to Class AAA it makes an interesting match-up between both schools. What are your goals for the team this season?
As a team, I feel that our goal should be to start strong and finish strong. The month of December is really our only chance to compete against national competition, so we need to be ready these first couple of weekends. As of now, we are ranked 9th on Flowrestling, and I believe that we can get into at least the top 5. After that first month, our goal is to top last year’s performance. We know that we will get every team’s best match, and that motivates us in the practice room. If we listen to our coaching staff and wrestle hard, I believe that we can have one of the greatest team seasons in Pennsylvania history. We have a lot of respect for what Bethlehem Catholic has done as a program over the past couple of years, but we are looking forward to the challenge of wrestling them.
How would you like Pennsylvania Wrestling fans to remember Michael Kemerer?
I would like Pennsylvania wrestling fans to remember Michael Kemerer as someone who loved the sport of wrestling and everything about it. I want to be remembered as a wrestler who gave it 100% every time he stepped on that mat. Although I will not be representing a Pennsylvania university in my collegiate wrestling career, I am thankful for all of the great opportunities that this state has given me. Nothing beats Pennsylvania high school wrestling!
WPIAL Section 1
2012: Champion – 106 lbs.
2013: Champion – 126 lbs.
2014: Champion – 138 lbs.
WPIAL/South West Regional
2012: Champion – 106 lbs.
2013: Runner-up 126 lbs.
2014: Runner-up 138 lbs.
PIAA State Tournament
2012: Runner-up – 106 lbs.
2013: Runner-up – 126 lbs.
2014: Runner-up – 138 lbs.
POWERade Christmas Tournament
2011: Champion – 113 lbs.
2012: Runner-up – 126 lbs.
2013: Champion – 138 lbs.