During his first three years on University High School’s wrestling team, Kit Moffitt won so few matches that his coach, Don Owen, can’t remember any of them.
This year, the 178-pound senior helped U-Hi win its first Greater Spokane League team title with four wins by pin or technical fall. And he picked up an individual championship in the Inland Empire Classic and placed second in the Pacific Northwest Classic.
His losses were by a point, to two-time state runner-up Troy Hughes of Mead and CV nemesis Ben Asbury.
Moffitt’s success this year is a direct result of grit. Despite earlier failures, he refused to give up on wrestling. For that, he thanks his father. “He said that I would regret it if I quit,” Moffitt said.
Owen said that physical and mental maturity is important in wrestling.
“If you stay the course,” Owen said, “if you keep with it long enough it will become effective for you. Kit just got his butt kicked from the time he was a freshman until this year.”
Moffitt is not sure why things turned around.
“I don’t know if my body caught up to my brain or my brain to my body,” he said. “I started doing the things that had been taught to me.”
This has been a year of profound change in other areas of Moffitt’s life, too. He witnessed the climbing accident that paralyzed his friend Jim Mace. “My friends are more important to me than they ever were,” said Moffitt. “I don’t take them for granted.”
He was the first among his friends to become involved in rock climbing. He was a ninth grader at Horizon Junior High when he met climber Tim Barz through the school’s extended learning mentorship program.
“A lot of guys were into thermonuclear physics,” said Moffitt. “I said, ‘no way.”’
Instead, he learned all he could about climbing from Barz. He got others involved, including friends Mace and Aaron Moe.
Over the Labor Day weekend last September, the three were climbing Chimney Rock near Priest Lake in North Idaho.
Moffitt was standing off to the side when Mace fell.
While Moe went for help, Moffitt stayed with Mace until they were airlifted to Sacred Heart Medical Center in separate helicopters.
“I kept thinking ‘I wish I could be the one to go for help,”’ Moffitt said. “I did what I could, putting clothes around him and making sure he didn’t go to sleep.”
Moffitt said it was something he never imagined would happen. The three had agreed prior to the climb that if anything didn’t look right, whether it was the climbing face or weather conditions, they wouldn’t do it.
“If we were doing something stupid, you could prepare (for the unexpected),” he said. “We were there, roped up for a cool day of climbing.”
Since then Moffitt has tried to keep from dwelling on the accident. Now, he is focused totally on wrestling.
“Football was my favorite sport until this year,” he said. “Wrestling has become more fun.”
But he doesn’t expect to play team sports after this season. He does expect to start climbing again.
“Climbing has always been what I wanted to do,” he said.
He’s eager to pal around again with Mace.
“I am looking forward to getting out with him and doing stuff,” said Moffitt, who must take instruction about quadriplegia to understand Mace’s needs.
He knows the day will come that he must rope up again and challenge another rock face.
“I know I will try it. I have to try it,” said Moffitt. “I can’t imagine living without climbing.”
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