Homer Alaska - Sports

Story last updated at 7:32 PM on Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Kyle Wisner: Passionate, unconventional

By Lindsay Johnson
Staff writer


Kyle Wisner

Kyle Wisner likes to get out. Out of doors, out of the country, out of "the box."

This trait has taken the 16-year-old up and down mountains, around fields and ice rinks, across oceans and into honors English class.

He's broken a few — seven or eight — bones along the way, but that hasn't really slowed him down. He enjoys the ride too much.

While skiing last March, Wisner tore his ACL at the bottom of a cliff while skiing at Alyeska Resort. Not knowing it was torn, he jumped into high school soccer, but felt the ligament give out during the second game of the season.

"He has a hard time staying uninjured. The surgeon said 'that's usually when they start getting timid,' but that wasn't the case. Timid is just not where he lives,'" said his father, Mark.

"There is nothing halfway. He's always going 100 percent, 150 percent, always pushing the limits," said his mother, Margaret.

She recalls him pleading "faster, Mama, faster," from his perch in her backpack while skiing. He started skiing on his own at age 2 and was doing double black diamonds by four.

"When he gets into something, he really gets into it," Mark said.

It's true.

"I think that everyone needs something to be passionate about. I choose a couple things that I really want to do and I put everything into those," Kyle explained.

He loves skiing, both backcountry and resort, but he also likes soccer.

"In skiing it's the individualism and you're free to do whatever you like. In soccer, it's the team vibe. It's just so much fun being a part of a group ... all the hard times make the good times pretty awesome."

While peaks and valleys have their perks, on the field Wisner stays centered.

"I've always been a mid field player. You're central to everything, you can see everything and you get to run a lot. I enjoy that. You get to set up a lot of plays."

Wisner appreciates the mental element of soccer.

"Obviously you have to have good endurance ... but if you have a team of 11 really intelligent guys that work together really well, you can be the athletically better team any day. That's why it's so cool."

Head Soccer Coach Warren Waldorf said he was surprised that Wisner signed on again.

"It's great to have him on board. If Kyle wasn't there," Waldorf said, "I wouldn't be able to fill that hole. He sees real well. He distributes the ball well. He can hang onto it."

Besides technical abilities, Waldorf said Wisner is kind, works hard and communicates well.

"He understands what we're trying to do and he's able to give the coaching staff important feedback," he said.

Teammate and classmate Robin Glosser describes Wisner as "really enthusiastic and positive. He's a really good friend and he's really positive about life."

Wisner has maintained a good attitude in spite of injuries that have made him miss out on sports. An active mind and loving family doubtlessly contribute to his outlook.

Last fall, when knee rehab counted hockey out, Wisner went to Germany to live with his mom's family and attend school.

Though he'd spent a significant amount of time there before, Wisner enjoyed the challenges of learning in a different culture. His experiences further influenced his ideas about the U.S. education system.

"We need to have more responsibility and need to be able to rise," he said. "(Students) need to step up, but they also need to be given the chance to."

Back at Homer High, Wisner takes Sean Campbell's Honors 11 Language Arts class, where Campbell said Wisner's energy and curiosity make him fun to teach.

"One of the things I really try to encourage is questioning," Campbell said. "Kyle almost inherently questions. He's a critical thinker."

Margaret said these traits have made him both a challenge and a joy to raise.

"He's just a really intense kid, but very respectful and thoughtful," Margaret said.

Wisner's friend Parker Sorensen said he couldn't sum him up in one phrase, but then did.

"It's never boring with Kyle, that's for sure."

Lindsay Johnson may be reached at lindsay.johnson@homernews.com.