This is kind of out of nowhere, but I was thinking today you are prodded and evaluated for five years, including your recruitment, then you graduate and bam its done. That is the crazy thing about college athletics. You put your heart and soul into kids as coaches for the time being, you critique and congratulate them, you light them up and build them up, then their time comes and they just move on. I guess that is the way of the world, but it seems sort of bizarre to me. I think as a coach hopefully you can build a strong enough relationship with your kids that when they move into the real world, you still care and are involved in their real life.
I’ve been thinking more and more about what I want to do after I am done wrestling and done with school. I never thought I would want to coach, but if the right opportunity came about I think I would have a hard time turning it down. I think that has lended me some extra motivation this year as I need some solid credentials to me attractive for hiring as a college coach. We will see what happens.
It’s early. It’s early. I keep telling myself that. I wrestled decent over the weekend, but I am trying to be a national champ. If I have learned anything in college wrestling it is that it is a marathon NOT a sprint. What happens in March is truly all that matters, but all the way you have to stay solid, especially with seeding and the like. It is definitely a process and the good thing is this weekend I kept trying to go to a shot Coach Dolph and I have worked on instead of just going to my usual stuff. It is good to get pushed regardless and now I have actual footage to get some results out of. This year more than ever I really trust in my training. I am doing all the little things right and definitely I am going to be there at the end of the year.
I thought we wrestled tough as a team over the weekend. Kellen looked solid as always, as did a couple of the young guys like Jake Salazar, B. Zeerip, and Grant Pizzo. One guy I have been saying to everyone to look out for is Sean Boyle. Boyle wrestled a solid tournament and there is no doubt the kid has talent. He is a good example of someone who put the work in over the summer and it will pay off this year.
I hope our team is fired up for Pitt this weekend as they have a solid team. I’d love to see us get off to a great start as a dual team and we are going to have to battle. We will be ready though.
Last week was on our own, and guys typically did what they feel was best to do for themselves. I got a good week of training in and mixed it up well. This week we have trained well and I am wrestling tough right now. I am super confident in my technique at this point in my career. Whether someone leads their left or right leg, I believe I have high-level attacks to both sides. Plus, Dolph has help add some new wrinkles to my game, that I’m gonna unveil soon. The guy does know his stuff and I have always been one to learn new stuff. I remember my first year at Michigan I sat down and watched every single match of Ben Askren and Mark Perry I could find. I was built just like both of those guys, I had little strength, and I decided I needed to emulate their styles to be successful. I learned a ton from each of them and have used some of their stuff in my style now.
Needless to say I am ready to rock on Saturday.
I think wrestlers more than any other sport, arguably, have to deal with doubt constantly. I know my first two years I constantly had doubt in my ability or whatever have you heading into a match. I think I have conquered this doubt now, and that is why I am starting to see some success.
I think whenever you have a bad practice, get banged up, or are feeling down – doubt starts to creep out. For me personally, I try to fend off these negative feelings as soon as possible. It’s like I have like guys in my head that attack this bad virus as soon as it enters my body. I have become good at this and try to take to myself when this happens. Remind myself of good and positive things. The best guys never doubt themselves ever, they believe in themselves more than any one else.
I am getting to that point where I am ready – I am sick of wrestling with the same guys all the time. I want to get out there and whoop on someone from another school. I was listening to an interview with former Arizona State All-American and current UFC fighter Ryan Bader and he was saying once you are sick of training, you are ready to compete. I wouldn’t say I am sick of training, but I am definitely ready to get this season started and ready to have some fun. This year we get to compete at some great places with some great, rowdy fans like Lehigh, Central Michigan, Iowa, and Ohio State. I can’t wait.
I think it is paramount, in order to be successful in college wrestling, to have a solid support system behind you. I believe I truly do and that backbone can take you a long way. It starts with my family and my girlfriend. My family has been behind me the whole way and are tremendous in all they’ve done for me the past fifteen plus years in wrestling. In order to date a wrestler, your girlfriend has to be super understanding and supportive, and Sarah is both of these. My family and Sarah are my number one fans.
I think at Michigan I have great teammates and coaches that really want me to succeed. Kellen Russell is my roommate and we feed so well off each other – I want to see him do well and he wants to see me thrive. Same goes for all my other teammates. Plus, our whole coaching staff, including the Churella’s have been great throughout. One person who has been there the whole way since I got to Michigan has been Coach Kulczycki. I think he is the first person at UM who believed I could be successful at the college level, maybe before even I did. There have been so many great influences here, but Coach K has been my most consistent. Come March at NCAA’s he will be the first person I hug when I walk off the mat.
I believe more than ever once you get deep into wrestling you win not only for yourself, but for your whole support system – family, girlfriend, teammates, training partners, coaches. etc. I remember my true freshman year when Nick Roy became an All-American, I was so ecstatic. I had worked out and hung out a lot with him down the stretch and I felt like I was part of his victory. It is stuff like that, that makes wrestling so special. You might be out there by yourself, but you are really not.
Our SID Leah Howard is one of the best wrestling sports info people in the country and does a wonderful job. Recently Kellen Russell, Justin Zeerip, and myself sat down with her about the upcoming season. She put together a great article/conversation with us. Check it out here.