It set up a trip to the Fieldhouse and a match against Garrett Pepple of East Noble. Pepple, who was 41-2 going into the match, defeated Flood by fall and went on to finish as state runner-up.
Flood looked at the experience as a chance to learn what he needs to improve upon for next year. “It was huge,” Flood said of the state finals. “Getting to the state will help push me to go farther next year.”
Flood brushed off any notion of nerves performing in front of the bigger crowd, giving his opponent credit in the process. “It was all part of the experience,” said Flood. “He (Pepple) had more experience and confidence.”
Arabians coach Dave Cloud also sees a chance for Flood to go farther next year. “Though he didn’t achieve his goal of earning a place, he set himself up for future success,” said Cloud. “I believe having made it to the show this season will strengthen his desire to do everything possible for next season to reach his goal.”
Cloud also felt the distractions from being a first time finals qualifier will not interfere with Tyler next year. “He will return as a finals veteran and all of those distractions (fellow students, parade, crowd size, etc.) will be part of the background.”
Flood comes from a family of athletes, including his twin brother Tony who also wrestles and runs cross country. It could lead to some interesting matches, but Tyler admits he and Tony do not wrestle each other much. “I don’t wrestle Tony much because we fight like brothers,” Tyler said with a laugh. “But it’s great having him for support.”
His uncle (Lennie Jarrell) was a wrestler at Pendleton Heights and his parents ran cross country. Running cross country has mental and physical benefits for Tyler. “It gives me energy and helps me keep my weight,” he said. “But also it helps to know that I have to keep going and still have something left at the end of a long race.”