BY TURNER BLAUFUSS
The Dragon wrestling team has shown promise on the mats this season, but sophomore Blake Bosch is making a name for himself as one of the top wrestlers in the country. Ranked No. 6 in the nation, Bosch is hoping to reach his goal of being crowned a national champion.
Bosch, who wrestles at 133 pounds, credits his season’s success to his physical and mental preparation leading up to a match. The sophomore from Wishek, N.D. doesn’t let anything affect his focus.
“My conditioning has improved immensely,” Bosch said. “I’m probably in the best shape I’ve ever been in. Being mentally tougher, too, I think I’m mentally prepared for all my matches.”
Although Bosch credits his success to his attitude heading into a match, coach Kris Nelson says it’s what he does after a match that separates him from other wrestlers in the country.
“One thing about Blake is he never gets down,” Nelson said. “He’s looking to get better everyday. He has suffered some losses this year. He doesn’t let it get to him. He comes back and figures out what he needs to work on for next time. He doesn’t let something bother him and keeps his goals in mind. He wants to be a national champion, and he’s going to do whatever he has to do to reach that goal.”
Early in the season the Dragons wrestled at the Bison Open and Bosch held his own against Division I opponents. Bosch has since wrestled some ranked opponents and is making a strong case for himself heading into the regional tournament. Nelson credits Bosch as his young wrestler that is setting an example to follow.
“Blake Bosch is an individual that’s been having a great year so far,” Nelson said. “He leads everyday in practice. He’s one of the most consistent wrestlers we have on the team.”
Bosch’s leadership is one of his greatest contributions to the Dragons, and his coaches and teammates agreed. After only one season in a Dragon singlet, the team voted Bosch as a team captain.
“That doesn’t happen a lot,” Nelson said. “At the end of the year we sit down as coaches to see who worked the hardest, who accomplished the most, who we feel the guys look up to, and at the same time, we let the individuals vote, and he was voted by his peers to be the captain of the team, and he’s done a great job.“
The wrestler describes his team as a close-knit group with the coaching staff guiding the athletes throughout their college years on and off the mat.
“Especially this season, we’ve grown together as a family, Bosch said. “Nelson is like a father to us. Traveling to New York and San Francisco we’ve grown close. We’re a good group of friends and basically brothers. Nelson and all of our other coaches are great role models. They can be our friends when we need them to as well. We go to them if we have trouble.”
Bosch, who made it to the national tournament last season wrestling at 125, will now prepare for the regional tournament. The top four advance to nationals and Nelson says Bosch should make it past regionals. However, in one of the toughest regions in the country, nothing is guaranteed.
“When we recruited him that was our goal for him,” Nelson said. “Our goal is for him to be a national champion in his time here. Hopefully he can do it a number of times. If he puts together a good tournament, I think he could be a national champion.”
To reach All-American status at nationals, a wrestler must finish in the top eight.
Bosch has his eyes set on the prize, and his goal isn’t to finish top four in the regionals or to finish top eight at nationals.
“First, I want to be a regional champion then a national champion from there,” Bosch said.
The regional tournament will be held Friday and Saturday in Mankato, Minn. The first match will begin at 10 a.m.