Well to put it simply, some days a bowl of nails for breakfast sounds like quite a delicacy. It’s a rough life as a college wrestler. To survive in this level of competitiveness you have to have a certain drive that very few people in the world have. My first wrestling coach I ever had, Paul Walker, put it perfectly when he told me, “You have to have a few screws loose in the head to wrestle.” Ask any high level wrestler, and they will tell you that there is a certain aspect of insanity that goes into just about everything we do. And in my short time that I’ve been at the college level, all of the insanity has been amplified. From all out training to our weight training and weight cutting, it is a necessity to have those couple screws loose (however the right ones need to be loose so that you can be successful in the classroom as well).
However the most prominent changes that I have picked up on would be the level of aggression and competitiveness both in our own room and in general for competitions. Coming from a good high school program, we had our fair share of talented wrestlers but there were always the less talented ones that often had to have things slowed down for them (this is not meant to offend those athletes, most of them are new and need it so there is nothing wrong with slowing things down).
But college is a whole other ballgame, your starting spot is never assured and you can’t let your guard down for a second if you want to stay on top. This is the case because we, those who wrestle in college, are no longer just doing it as something to do after school, it is far too challenging of a past-time. We do it because we have that insane inner drive to push ourselves to our limits, and then some more. Those who make it this far, but don’t have that drive, are quickly weeded out. The remaining members are the cream of the crop. And that is exactly how I see our team at this point, tough and ready get after it this year. We may be ranked 16th in the nation starting out, but no rank matters until after the heavyweight NCAA D-III National Championship match. But with the way our team has been working, we are going to show people that 16th isn’t nearly high enough.
Tim Locksmith ‘16