| Q: With your father and uncle both outstanding former Wesleyan wrestlers, was it a foregone conclusion that you’d become a wrestler? A: It’s hard to say, I had known growing up that my father and three out of my four uncles had wrestled; however, I never felt at one time that I was being pressured to follow suit. We joke in my family that my father always gets his way without ever saying anything. I vaguely remember him urging me to look into it, but I know the decision to start wrestling was ultimately mine. In terms of wrestling for Wesleyan, I hadn’t thought about wrestling in college or attending Wesleyan really at all until the spring of my junior year in high school. My parents never said anything about the idea that I was “following in my fathers footsteps.” It was mostly an interesting situation that dawned on me after I had already started the process myself.
Q: How did Wesleyan get onto your list of possible colleges?
A: Before applying to college my father and I spent my spring break of my junior year visiting a bunch of different schools on the east coast. My dad never pushed for Wesleyan, he was always very objective in discussing other schools and other choices I could make in terms of where I was applying and how I was planning to go about it. Of course, he was sure to remind me that Wesleyan was one of the few schools that could offer me the opportunity to wrestle at the Division III level and still offer me a great education.
Q: How instrumental was Head Wrestling Coach Drew Black in making your choice to attend Wesleyan? How would you describe him as a coach?
A: Coach Black played a very significant role in my decision to apply to Wesleyan. His enthusiasm for his team and the entire recruiting process made me feel very excited about the possibility of wrestling at Wesleyan. I had also heard a great deal of positive feedback about Coach Black from former coaches of mine who knew him. I really admire Coach Black for the enthusiasm he brings to the room everyday. Each practice is well organized, very diverse, and very focused. To design a practice plan in such a systematic way is a testament to how hard he works for the program. Seeing that hard work coming from his end makes me want to work harder for him.
Q: When did you first take to the mats for any kind of wrestling activity? What about it appealed to you?
A: I wrestled my first official match in seventh grade. I had wrestled a little bit in elementary school, but none of that was really substantial. I felt wrestling really catered to my sense of pride and determination. I love when something challenges me, and I love when I am pushed to perform better than my competition. I feel that at all times when I’m wrestling.
Q: What other sports captured your fancy as you were growing up?
A: I started playing lacrosse during summer camps when I was 10-years-old.
Q: To this point in your career, what would you say is the high point from a wrestling standpoint?
A: Winning the Roger Williams Tournament this year. After not finishing last year, I wanted to make a big statement coming into the season this year. I beat two nationally ranked wrestlers that day, including one that had beaten me three times last year.
Q: Do you have your sites set on any specific goals in wrestling before you graduate?
A: My individual goals include becoming a New England Champion and ultimately becoming an All American. I also would like to lead the Wesleyan Wrestling team to a top 3 finish at the New England Championships. I’ve found that I succeed when my teammates are succeeding as well.
Q: Might we see more Hurds coming to Wesleyan?
A: I have one sister, Allison, who is currently enrolled in Wesleyan as well.
Q: What do you plan to major in at Wesleyan and if you had to project where you might be five years from now, what would you say?
A: I plan on declaring an earth and environmental science major. It’s hard to say where I see myself in five years. I feel very passionate about many things, so it’s hard to say that I can envision one clear career path ahead of me.
Q: Give us a small bit of your philosophy on life.
I’ve never been afraid to challenge myself. I’ve always sought out experiences that could potentially improve me as a person. I truly value the people in my life and the opportunities I have been given. That said, my family has always supported me and guided me in pursuing my passions. I have come to realize however, that my ambitions are only one aspect of my personality. I try to stay as vigilant as possible about keeping everything in perspective. The relationships I have formed with my friends and family are just as important to me as the activities I participate in.
Q: What other hobbies or activities keep you busy?
A: I love to sing and play music. I can play the piano, guitar, bass and cello. I still play the guitar often, but I don’t have much time to practice the others while I’m at school. Having a creative outlet is very important to me. It helps me to relax and distance myself from the everyday grind. Music also brings me a lot of joy because it can be shared with others. My mother pushed me to pursue music just as intently as any other hobby, I suppose she foresaw how important it would be in the future.
|By Brian Katten, sports information director|