Wrestling: A way of life

Sarah Passick

Sarah Passick

Few people can say they were born into the sport of wrestling, but for one South Dakota State University wrestler that has never been more true.

“I was pretty much born into the sport of wrestling. My dad was the coach for 24 years at Stanley County High School, so it was a part of my life from the beginning,” senior Kris Dozark said.

Dozark, an environmental management major, began his wrestling career at age five. For 17 years, wrestling has been a part of his life. He said he has grown personally because of the sport.

“In wrestling you always have to learn new skills to improve on your previous knowledge learned,” the Fort Pierre native said. “This is the same thing that happens in life. In order for my life to progress there must be changes and things learned from these changes.”

Dozark says he has seen many changes over the years. His style of wrestling changed when he began college. In addition, he says he has worked harder to obtain his goals, both in wrestling and in the classroom.

“In high school I had a different style of wrestling than I do in college. The same thing applied to my personal life,” he said. “In high school things are much different in the classroom than they are in college. I have had to work harder in studying and in wrestling to achieve my goals.”

Wrestling has not only kept Dozark’s body healthy, but his mind and sprit as well.

“I like the sport because you have to work extremely hard to obtain a goal,” he said. “When you obtain that goal you feel an amazing sense of accomplishment. I also like the sport because of the people that are involved. They understand the sacrifices that are needed in this sport. I have learned that hard work and dedication are needed to obtain goals.”

Dozark loves wrestling, but he sees a few drawbacks of the sport: cutting weight and the time involved.

“It is amazing how good a Thanksgiving and Christmas supper tastes after watching your weight for a couple months,” he said. “The disadvantages are that sometime wrestlers can get a little crabby if they watch their weight. Anyone that is close to a wrestler knows what I mean.”

On and off the mat, Dozark’s biggest fan club is his family. Not only are they his biggest fans, cheering him on, but they are also his biggest critics, telling him what he is doing wrong.

“My father, mother and brother have pushed me and helped throughout my career,” he said. “They show me what I am doing wrong when I am doing something wrong, and celebrate with me when I accomplished something good. Without my family, I would not be were I am today.”

Dozark had older brothers who also wrestled for State.

“My brother set a high standard for accomplishments in his life, so I can try and do the same things he has accomplished,” he said. “He is my role model.”

Dozark plans to graduate in May 2003 and wants to be involved in wrestling whether through coaching or sport promotions. Dozark has wrestled four years counting this year at SDSU, but is red shirting this year so he can wrestle competitvely next season.

During these four years, Dozark has created a connection with his teammates and coaches. Whether it was riding on a bus for eight hours, or spending countless hours practicing, Dozark has treasured the moment.

“It seems like every trip, every weigh in, every tournament has something that could be a memorable moment,” Dozark said.