Monday, July 28, 2014

Weidl connects with Newman's small campus

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 5/9/2014

Most high school wrestlers don’t think about the opportunities available to them after their prep careers are finished.

Dalton Weidl was one of them.

Most high school wrestlers don’t think about the opportunities available to them after their prep careers are finished.

Dalton Weidl was one of them.

“I never thought I could go to college wrestling three or four years ago,” the Ottawa High School senior said.

The thinking changed as his high school career took off. He won a state championship as a senior. There were doors open all over the place.

“High school is definitely life-changing with wrestling,” Weidl said. “It opened our eyes. Hopefully, I will set a trend. We have had good wrestlers in this town that could go to college. There are more opportunities out there. This is a way to pay for your school.”

Weidl had a tough decision to make after becoming just the second state champion in OHS history.

Where to go? He chose Newman University, an NCAA Division II program in Wichita.

“I really connected with the coach and athletes,” Weidl said. “I knew some of the former athletes. It has the education program I want to go into. It was pretty tough. I was stressed for awhile. When I finally committed, stress lifted off my shoulders.”

Ottawa wrestling coach Joe Tokarz said the decision weighed on Weidl.

“He had a lot of offers,” Tokarz said. “His decision to go to [Newman] was not based on going to wrestle, but am I picking a school that is going to provide what I want it to. What is the school going to give you? How is it going to help you in your career? Don’t judge it on some things. Look at the whole picture. I think he made a great choice.”

Tokarz hopes Weidl blazes a path for the younger wrestlers ­— not only in setting and achieving high goals ­— but there are opportunities after high school.

“He is kind of a trendsetter for us,” Tokarz said. “He deserves what he is doing.”

Tokarz said Newman, which competes in the MIAA, is not a fly-by-night program.

“It one of those programs that everything is quality,” Tokarz said. “It is an established program.”

Weidl felt something different about Newman.

“I visited a couple of other schools and I did not connect with any of the coaches,” Weidl said. “It felt right. They have a lot of young potential. It is good academically.

“It is a smaller campus. Everything is within walking distance. It has a good atmosphere.”

Besides talking with wrestlers, he met with Alexis Roecker, a 2013 OHS graduate, who will be a sophomore on the Newman volleyball team.

She had nothing but good things to say about Newman.

Weidl understands there is a lot of work to do to become successful at the collegiate level. He expects to wrestle at the 197-pound weight class.

“Everybody knows what they are doing,” Weidl said. “You will not find a bad athlete anywhere. It is all year round.

“I will do a lot of weightlifting. I will try to stay in shape.”

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