The Eye Opener 5K PJ Run is held in memory of Kyle W. Kiihnl, a Houston High School student who was killed one evening when a drowsy driver fell asleep behind the wheel. After his death, the outpouring of support that his family received showed just how special he was to many people, and how his tragic death affected so many young lives. Hopefully, Kyle’s death will serve a reminder to our community that people must take great care when getting behind the wheel.
Kyle was a very intelligent, sensitive and funny guy. He had a dry sense of humor and would say the most unexpected things. He was an amazing older brother to his younger sister, who was only four years old when he died. Kyle was one of the most easy-going people to ever walk the earth. He always saw the glass half-full and took all problems with a grain of salt. When he wasn’t wrestling, he enjoyed spending time on his computer, playing guitar, or working on his car.
Kyle started wrestling as a freshman at Houston when he weighed 98 pounds. He focused all of his attention on practicing and improved substantially by his sophomore year. Unfortunately, an injury at the beginning of his sophomore year kept Kyle from competing with his team. However, he continued to come to practices every day and support his teammates. He competed his junior year and placed in his weight class in several competitions. Kyle’s coach, Walt Holmes, later coined the phrase “exceeding expectations” to describe Kyle’s dedication to his team.
Kyle’s hard work and enduring commitment left such an impression on his teammates and coaches that the Houston High School wrestling team collaborated with Kyle’s family to establish a scholarship fund in his name. The Kyle Kiihnl Memorial Scholarship Fund, also known as the “Exceeding Expectations Award” is presented to one Houston senior wrestler who has “exceeded expectations” just as Kyle did.