Ben VomBaur Head Assistant Coach University of Northern Colorado Wrestling

I grew up playing a lot of sports. I played organized soccer, football, baseball and basketball, but it wasn’t until i wrestled that i could channel my energy. Wrestling has made me the person I am today. It helped me transform my life from a struggling youth into a successful person.

I was a bright kid growing up. I scored high on several standardized tests in Kindergarten; even high enough to be placed in a new school for gifted students. But over the years I struggled more and more with discipline and motivation. By the time I finished the 6th grade I was failing several subjects, was visiting the principal on a regular basis and my relationships with my family was struggling at home. I had physical altercations with my parents and at one point pulled a knife on my sister and threatend her life. I specifically remember my 6th grade teacher telling my parents at a parent-teacher conference that I was headed for prison. Near the end of the 6th grade school year, after getting in a fight at school, the principal asked my dad if I would stay home the rest of the school year. So I did.

I started wrestling in the 7th grade. I was a natural and won most of my matches. Wrestling was fun for me because I liked being physical. I have a mean streak, but in wrestling that was a good thing. Junior high school was still a struggle, but wrestling helped me channel my aggression and helped me dedicate myself to something I valued. I made big improvements in my life, but the biggest changes didn’t come until my 9th grade year when i learned about respect. In the 9th grade I started wrestling for Roy Pittman at Peninsula Park. Its an inner city club in Portland, Oregon with a heavy emphasis on respect, not wins and losses. I learned to respect my coaches, my family, my community and myself.

From that point on I dedicated myself to the sport of wrestling. I finished high school with 102-0 record and earned DI All-American honors twice at Boise State University. But what Im most proud of myself is who ive become. Wrestling helped keep me out of jail. Its helped me earn a college degree. Its helped me be a better husband. Its helped me be a better father. Its helped me be a good leader. Wrestling has simply made me a better person.