Friday, May 07, 2021

Sports

Metz Meets a New Destiny as a Senior

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After his senior football season was canceled, Kyle Metz decided to sign up and compete for the Valley Regional boys’ basketball team this winter. Photo courtesy of Kyle Metz

After his senior football season was canceled, Kyle Metz decided to sign up and compete for the Valley Regional boys’ basketball team this winter. (Photo courtesy of Kyle Metz )

Kyle Metz feels thankful to be playing basketball at Valley Regional as a senior. And his coaches and teammates are thankful that he’s competing for the team.

Kyle was slated to play football for Valley last fall, but after the 2020 season was canceled, he decided to try out for the boys’ basketball squad, marking his first foray in the sport since middle school. A 6-foot-2, 215-pound center, Kyle is proving a nice addition to the roster for the Warriors, who are off to a 4-2 start to their campaign.

“I started playing basketball this year because football got canceled and I had nothing else to do,” says Kyle. “Scoring my first points was cool. I was really excited to get in the game. I’m a big, physical body off the bench, and I like to give my team an energy boost when I come into the games. I’m good at grabbing rebounds and playing hard defense.”

Kyle had big expectations about what the Valley-Old Lyme football team could achieve on the gridiron in 2020, but the season was ultimately canceled due to COVID-19. Kyle was coming off of a junior campaign that saw him earn a major award for his performance on the defensive side of the ball.

“It was pretty crushing. We had a good team lined up. We would have been competing with the best teams out there,” Kyle says. “I really missed football this year. My favorite moment as a football player was finishing my junior season with 125 tackles and earning the defensive MVP award.”

While Kyle was disappointed that he didn’t get to play his final football season, he’s enjoying his time on the basketball court at Valley. Head Coach Kevin Woods describes Kyle as a tremendous athlete and feels that he’s a natural fit for the Warriors.

“This is his first year out for basketball. He is such a great kid and works so hard,” Woods says of Kyle. “I have had the luxury of coaching him in football, and it has been awesome having him out on the team. He gets better every day.”

Coach Woods’s sentiments represent one of the most impressive things about Kyle. Although this is only his first year playing high school basketball, Kyle has a desire to get better each time he steps on the court and wants to see the Warriors do the same as they enter the second half of their season.

“For basketball, I work to improve my game every day at practice and get better,” says Kyle. “We have a very solid team this year, and we expect to have a great year. The kids who start are very good. I’m good friends with the two captains on the team [seniors Marcus SantaMaria and Keenan Pindar], and they were the ones who really convinced to come out and play for the team.”

In addition to football and basketball, Kyle is also a member of the Valley Regional baseball team. Kyle has been starting for the varsity football and baseball teams since his sophomore year at Valley. Kyle is a linebacker in football and plays left field on the baseball squad.

“For football, I put over 700 hours into lifting for three years and conditioned over months to prepare for the season,” Kyle says. “It was difficult to maintain that schedule to begin with, but now, it’s just become a part of my routine. I can’t avoid it.”

Playing through the pandemic has been difficult for Kyle, but he’s embracing the challenge of trying a new sport and appreciates that it’s helping him stay conditioned for his future in football. Kyle has committed to play football at Utica College in the fall.

“It’s been tough playing because of the masks, but we have been playing through it,” says Kyle. “I have enjoyed playing a new sport, and it has helped me get in shape for my other sports.”

Kyle is excited for the opportunity to play football in college. In addition to suiting up for the Pioneers, Kyle plans to major in business at Utica.

“I was talking to Western New England University and Utica College, but ultimately decided on Utica because of its location in upstate New York,” Kyle says. “I don’t see myself trying to make it to the NFL, but I am looking forward to majoring in business and finance at Utica. I’m excited to see what the future holds for me.”


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