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CORONAVIRUS CHRONICLES: Patrick Kennedy, Kasson-Mantorville Wrestling

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(KTTC) -- Patrick Kennedy will always find a way. He always has.

The nation's top-ranked wrestler at 182 pounds wasn't going to let a global pandemic stop him in his pursuit of greatness, so he found a way to take his power back before the governor's executive order made him stay at home.

"I got mats and put them in my neighbor's shed so my brothers and I can get on the mats," Kennedy said. "There's still roads to run and weights to lift, so I'm doing just fine."

His make-shift wrestling room isn't as large as what he normally practices in, but the Kasson-Mantorville KoMet has found a benefit to his new training space.

"It's like 20 feet by 20 feet or something. It's definitely plenty of froom. teaches you to finish in a small space, so it's good," he said.

While lesser athletes might see this situation as a chance to rest on their laurels, Kennedy is doubling-down on what's separated him from the pack -- his work ethic. He's even sought out college-level competiton, and grappled with Golden Gopher wrestler, family friend, and Goodhue alum Bailee O'Reilly.

"I don't try to make this an excuse not to workout, as I think many people will coming off this break," said Kennedy. "I'm trying to put myself in position so when we do get to go back to our normal life I'm at full stride."

Full-stride is the only speed at which Kennedy operates. He's on a relentless pursuit of greatness on the mat, determined to qualify for the 2024 Olympics.

"If you want to get better, just get on the mat and wrestle, and so that's what I just do," he said. "I just get on the mat and cut my teeth on the mat."

This fall, Kennedy will join the top-ranked wrestling program in the country at the University of Iowa. Despite this unprecedented situation, Kennedy isn't going to go down to Iowa City unprepared.

"They know I'm doing what I got to do to be able to step in the room," he said. "My goal is still to be the best."

When asked if he had any message he'd like to get out there, Patrick simply said:

"Go Hawks."

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Mark Poulose

Mark Poulose is the Sports Director at KTTC.

You can find him on Twitter @MarkPoulose.

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