(KMAland) -- A four-time state runner-up and state co-ed tennis champion is Friday's KMA Sports Hall of Fame inductee.
Red Oak graduate Kirk Schuler played for five state championships in his tremendous career and lost just four total matches. Unfortunately, all four of those losses came in the state championship.
"It's still extremely difficult to swallow," Schuler said on Friday's Upon Further Review. "I always try to emphasize the (co-ed) state championship with Micki Piller."
Schuler dropped his first two chances at an individual state championship to Maharishi's Tyler Cleveland, but he says those two state final trips were pretty unexpected.
"We knew I probably had a better chance in doubles," Schuler said, "but I wanted to pursue the singles. Getting to the state finals my freshman and sophomore year was a huge accomplishment."
In his junior season, Schuler won the opening set of the state championship, 6-1, before dropping a second set tiebreak and the third and final set. His senior season saw him fight back from a loss in the opening set to win the second and then lost in another heartbreaking third set tiebreak.
"(Those) are still sour with me," Schuler said. "My junior year, I ultimately choked. We started outdoors, and I won the first set. It started to rain, and that is usually good for my game, but it worked out better for my opponent. I didn't deal with the emotions very well."
"My senior year, I had a chance for redemption, and it didn't quite work out. I felt better about that one because I fought as hard as I could."
The ultimate chance at redemption, though, came in the co-ed state final when Schuler and Piller won a third set tiebreak to land him that elusive state title.
"I really have to thank Micki for pulling me through that one," Schuler said.
Schuler, who will be inducted into the KMA Sports Hall of Fame at a later date to be determined, went on to a tennis career at Drake University and eventually played professional soccer for the Northern Mariana Islands national team.
Listen to the complete interview from Friday's Upon Further review here.
A KMA Sports Hall of Fame announcement will be made on Upon Further Review at 11:50 AM each weekday until August 28th.
2017-18 KMA Sports Hall of Fame Announcement Schedule
Friday, August 11th — Kirk Schuler, Red Oak (Tennis)
Monday, August 14th — Female Tennis (Individual)
Tuesday, August 15th — Female Basketball (Individual)
Wednesday, August 16th — Male & Female Golf (Individual)
Thursday, August 17th — Volleyball (Individual)
Friday, August 18th — Male Basketball (Individual)
Monday, August 21st — Female Cross Country (Individual)
Tuesday, August 22nd — Football (Individual)
Wednesday, August 23rd — Track & Field (Team)
Thursday, August 24th — Male Cross Country (Individual)
Friday, August 25th — Basketball (Team)
Monday, August 28th — Legacy Award