Tyler Goodman's almost lifelong dream of wrestling at the college level has become a reality.
The 18-year-old's ambition was realized last week when Mesa State College wrestling coach Chuck Pipher inked Goodman to a scholarship offer to wrestle the next four years for the NCAA Division II school.
"This is a dream come true for a kid who loves the sport of wrestling," said former Longhorn wrestling coach Rich Ormand. "A chance to wrestle at the next level is just awesome."
The package offered by Mesa State includes a $3,000 a year athletic scholarship and a Western Undergraduate Exchange Scholarship worth about $5,500.
Goodman's selection for the scholarship began with a recommendation to Mesa State from former Longhorn, Colorado Western State and All-American wrestler R.C. LaHaye.
"He told coach Pipher about me, we talked on the phone and then I went there for a visit," Goodman said.
One visit to the school campus in Grand Junction, Colo. convinced the teen that Mesa State was where he wanted to continue his wrestling career and seek an education.
"The wrestling program is good, the town is like a bigger Payson and there is plenty of good hunting and fishing," he said.
Goodman grew up spending time in the outdoors helping his father, Ty, who is a local hunting and fishing guide.
Mesa State competes in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference that also houses Western State College where two of Goodman's former teammates, Zack Lee and Larry Wilbanks, now wrestle.
"For at the least the next three years, Tyler will be sitting across the mat from his old high school teammates," Ormand said.
At Mesa State, the former Longhorn expects to wrestle in either the 125 or 133-pound weight class.
In leaving the PHS program, Goodman said his fondest recollections are of winning the Tim Van Horn Memorial Trophy his senior year.
The award annually goes to the wrestler who competes with determination, courage and the will to win.
In the Van Horn, Goodman finished 10-1 and won his weight class championship.
"That was exciting for me," he said. "I always wanted to win the Van Horn."
At the conclusion of Goodman's senior season, he entered the 2006 Class 3A state tournament as the East region's 125-pound second seed, with a 40-8 record. He began his ascent to the title round by pinning a Safford opponent. He continued with a 9-6 decision over Chinle and a 10-3 thumping of Holbrook. In the finale, Goodman dropped a 5-3 heart breaker to the same wrestler, Blue Ridge's Anthony Martinez, who had beaten him in the East championships. With a 3-1 state record, Goodman wrapped up his senior season 43-9.
As a junior, he was fourth in the 119-pound division.
During his career, he was a four-year starter and a three time state qualifier.
His interest in the sport was piqued as a sixth-grader at Rim Country Middle School when former Longhorn coach Dennis Pirch convinced him he could excel on the mat.
Before going on to high school, he wrestled three years for RCMS, was silver medalist at the 2001 Grand Canyon State Games and was third in the School Boy Division at the 2002 Amateur Athletic Union National Freestyle Championships.
With Goodman's prep career at an end, he says he'd like to thank the many coaches who helped him succeed along the way and his parents for their support in his athletic endeavors.