MU Wrestler Grapples with Greatness
"If I know they're not as good as me then why sit around and stare at them for 7 minutes... Might as well just pin them and get it over with."
Ben doesn't mind bringing his work home with him, into his very own wrestling room.
"Me and my dad did a lot of house searching and everywhere we went we would think where would we put the wrestling room in this house and we had to have ample room for that."
The idea started in 2nd grade. The Askren's built a room with padded walls to let the kids run wild
"Me and my brother were really rambunctious and we ran around and broke everything and put holes in the wall. So we thought it would be a really good idea if we had a place for us to not be able to break stuff."
Little brother Max often felt the brunt of big Ben's wrestling ability.
"He beat me up a lot more than he taught me at first. You gotta learn to keep rolling with it or you're going to keep getting beat up."
Now they're practice partners in a "homemade" gym.
"We plastered over the cement and than we had to paint it. Put some extra high beams up for support and strength and then put the mats on the wall."
The Askren wrestling room comes with accessories. Like a scale to make sure you're making weight and you got to have your tunes… and some homemade inspiration that Ben says came from mom.
"Mom painted that when we came in. I think she was bored because we were doing all of the construction and she had nothing to do."
The room isn't heated, but there's no problem breaking a sweat. Any day, or as max found, anytime.
"We'd wrestle... I think 3 o'clock was the latest we ever practiced."
That's 3 in the morning, and evidently practice makes perfect. Ben Askren is undefeated this season
"Challenged a lot in the practice room from a lot of tough partners, but on the mat I do what I wanna do. Just go out and wrestle hard because I know no one can wrestle with me for 7 minutes."
That wasn't the case last year. Askren lost in the national championship for the second straight season, a defeat that still drives the MU junior.
"It's just crushing and very disappointing because for me I work my whole life for something and I didn't accomplish it."
Brother Max knows his brother won't rest on his laurels.
"Second in the nation isn't bad, but it's not what we're going for. No one trains for second in the nation."
As for the blond curls on top of Ben's head - they're sticking around until march, when he plans on finally getting his national title.
Along with the national title, Askren wants to win the Hodge award as the best wrestler in the nation and the Shalis award for the best pinner. His long-term goal make the US Olympic wrestling team in 2008.
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