Student-Athlete of the Week

Feb. 29, 2012

Laramie, Wyo. -

Athlete of the Week

L.J Helbig

What made you want to become a wrestler?
My Dad wanted me to participate in as many sports as possible, and wrestling happened to be one of them. I started at the age of seven. The first three years, I was really awful at it ha-ha. It was so awful that my dad and I almost gave up on wrestling, thinking that this sport was not for me. My coach actually encouraged me to keep wrestling and have faith in it and I thank him for that.

What kind of challenges come along with wrestling?
The biggest challenge for me was to make adjustments around my hearing disability. What I mean by that is, I cannot wear my hearing device during practice or matches or the sweat will break it. So during those times, I have to pay extra attention so I can understand what goes on around me.

What is your motivation?
My motivation is getting my hand raised at the end of a match and being able to help my team. Those two things motivate me to work harder and focus more on the sport of wrestling.

What is a typical day like for you during season?
My typical day starts by waking up early to work out. After that, I would eat breakfast and watch TV for an hour then I go to class. I usually have one or two classes everyday which is really nice. The most important part of the day for me would be the one hour naps before practice. I try to nap as much as I can ha-ha. Then at 3:00 in the afternoon I go to practice. Finally, after I eat dinner, I would either go to study hall or stay at home until it's time for bed.

Who is your biggest supporter?
My Dad is my biggest supporter, hands down. He has been with me and supported me through thick and thin my whole life. I am grateful for having such a great father and he always has been the biggest influence for me, and still is.

Why did you choose UW?
I chose UW mainly because of the community of Laramie and felt it was an environment where I could feel comfortable being a student and wrestler for UW. The people in Laramie are pretty cool and always have shown support for all UW teams, especially wrestling.

Is there a match that stands out the most for you as a Cowboy?
I would have to say my conference finals match from last year. Two weeks before conference, Northern Iowa's wrestler beat me pretty bad. The following two weeks, I trained hard and wanted a rematch badly. In the finals at conference, I got a chance to wrestle that same wrestler. I was able to make a turnaround and win the match, which helped the team clinch the conference title. It was a great feeling knowing that I not only got my revenge, but also helped the team win.

What is the hardest workout the team does?
I would have to say Happy Jack. My freshman year, I learned that Happy Jack is definitely not happy ha-ha. But at Happy Jack, we do sprints up the hill and it always seems like they take forever.

What does it feel like to be a part of a nationally ranked team?
The one word I can think of is honor. I feel extremely honored to be part of a team who is a Top 10 team. I enjoy everyday knowing that I wrestle for the University of Wyoming Cowboy's, it is awesome. I look forward to finishing strong this year for the team and then having one last great season next year for the Cowboys.

What is your favorite meal?
I actually eat Subway a lot ha-ha. I eat there so much that the employees pretty much know what I want. But when I cook, my favorite meal would definitely be bison burgers with tator tots.

If there was one skill you wish you had, what would it be?
Well, I always feel like I am fast enough, but sadly most of the times I am kind of slow. Every time we do a running workout, I sometimes have a difficult time keeping up with the pace. My wish for a skill would have to be SPEED.

What is your favorite thing about UW?
My favorite thing about UW is the weather ha-ha. People think I'm crazy for liking the weather in Laramie. I hear people always complaining about the weather, but I love it.

What are your plans for your future after college?
My plans are to become a high school counselor where I will be able to help kids who have problems with school or other things, and to be a high school wrestling coach. I have a passion for working with kids in school and wrestling. Also one day, I hope to make a difference in their lives.

How do UW fans compare to other schools you have wrestled against?
The support for many schools that we have wrestled against doesn't even come close to UW fan support. I thought the UW fan support has been just great and every time I wrestle in front of them, they have always made feel respected. They never fail to make me want to give them 100% every time I wrestle. The UW fans are one of the reasons why we are a nationally ranked team and why I wanted to enroll and wrestle for UW.