Student-Athlete of the Week

March 4, 2013

Athlete of the Week

L.J. Helbig

Wyoming hosts the WWC Championship this week. What is your goal heading in and how are you preparing for the big event?

We had two weeks to train and prepare for the championship. Those two weeks will help me prepare physically and more importantly, mentally. My main goal is to wrestle smart and wrestle my style for every single second of the match. Preparing for the championship, I have to focus on wrestling nonstop in practices.

As one of the leaders on the team, how do you help out the younger guys?

To be honest, I haven't really thought of myself as one of the leaders but sometimes I help them realize that it is always important to want to wrestle for your team and be a team player.

What did you learn from wrestling as a heavyweight the past two seasons? Do you enjoy the 174 class more?

Wrestling at heavyweights had never been easy for me because I was undersized, but I learned that it takes a great deal of patience wrestling in that weight class. Also, I felt that I was limited with the techniques that I could use on heavyweights.

I definitely enjoy wrestling at 174 this year because it allows me to use a variety of moves. It wasn't easy making a transition to 174 because it's quicker and high-paced. You have to keep moving and be ready to react. It took some time, about two-and-a-half months to get to the point where I wanted to be and that was in mid-January.

What do you enjoy most about the sport of wrestling?

I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment as an individual and as a team. The feeling that you know you worked harder to get better and being able to perform the way you wanted to in matches.

When did you start wrestling?

I started wrestling at the age of seven.

What led you to Wyoming out of high school in Michigan?

I had five official trips and Wyoming was the first trip. I spent a weekend in Laramie where I learned about the tradition of the wrestling program. I fell in love with this place and so when I came back to Michigan, I decided to cancel the rest of the trips and commit to UW.

This is your fifth year living in Laramie. What have you enjoyed most about living in Wyoming?

I enjoy the nature of Wyoming the most. I go off-roading a lot with my truck, and in summers I take my four-wheeler and drive around. Also, I thoroughly enjoy camping and spending time outdoors.

What are your career plans after you graduate?

There are several jobs I would like to explore for several years. I would enjoy working outdoors and see what options are there. Several years down the road, I would like to pursue a master's in the social work. Being a social worker interests me very much.

Who is your role model?

I don't really have a role model, but when I was younger, there was a college wrestler named Brian Picklo. He was born and raised in Michigan. While high school, he never qualified for a state tournament. Picklo walked on at Michigan State, where he became a two-time All-American. I was inspired by the fact that he never qualified for a state tournament in high school, and yet he became an All-American twice.

What was your favorite class taken at UW?

That's hard to say. I really don't have a favorite but I have always loved taking sociology classes. I'm always interested in how society acts in this world.

What is your favorite book? Movie?

I don't have a favorite book. As for movies, I have too many favorites. Right off my head, I would have to say my top five would be Dumb and Dumber, Tommy Boy, Talladega Nights, Field of Dreams, and Rat Race. I love movies; I love them so much that I always watch the movie at least two times in a row and look up the actor/actress's names, etc.