Athlete of the Week Archive

Nov. 23, 2005

LARAMIE, Wyo. -




Bryce Leonhardt


Describe a typical day for you and the team?
"We're going to get up bright and early and lift at 6:00 a.m. and then hit a drill. If you're injured then you can go get treatment. After that, we go to class all morning and then come back and practice as a team at 3:00 p.m. We finish at about 5:00 p.m. and the rest of the evening is ours to study and hang out."

You had an extremely successful high school career; did you always want to wrestle in college?
"I didn't really know about the opportunities until late in my junior and senior year. At that point, I began to realize that there might be some opportunities for me at the next level and that's when I began to pursue it. Growing up, I didn't really think about it until I began to have some success."

Was Wyoming an option from the very beginning?
"There were several smaller schools that recruited me to begin with. I don't remember exactly when Coach Suder contacted me, but at that point it was an easy decision. It was close to home and my family and it was a good D-IA opportunity."

What are your expectations for this season?
"We just got under way and obviously the ultimate goal is that you want to be an All-American, but it has to start at the beginning. I put in a really long summer and tried to improve my strength and conditioning. We're only three weeks into the season and I've already been tested, so it's coming."

You've got Nebraska coming up; has that dual developed into somewhat of a rival for you?
"For us it's a great opportunity every season because we know going into this dual that we'll be wrestling either ranked guys or guys that are respected on the national level. It's a good opportunity to see where we're at every year. Personally, I've wrestled against Nebraska three times now and all three times were against ranked guys. I've wrestled Jason Powell twice and beaten him once; he's an All-American. I don't know if it can be a rival in the sense because their program is very much top notch right now."

You've had some success wrestling the top ranked wrestlers in the country. What is it like knowing that you compete with the best in the country and win?
"It's a nice thing for me, but also my teammates. Any time we have someone who can go with a top guy, they can step back and say, okay all that hard work is paying off. I think anytime you wrestle those guys, you have to believe in yourself because if you don't give yourself a chance at the start, you'll never win."

You're a senior; what are your plans after college?
"Part of it is right now I have some injuries and I just have to see where my body is at. At the same time I have to see where I'm going to be working. Where I end up will tell me whether or not I have an opportunity to stay around the sport. I'm a math education major so who knows where I'll be. I could still be here in town and that would give me a great chance to stay around the sport at such a high level."

What have you liked the most about wrestling for the University of Wyoming?
"I think that building friendships and relationships with my teammates and coaching staff has been the best thing for me. I have great friends because of it and the transition from high school to college was made pretty smooth for me."