“When you are given more than one opportunity, you have every reason for success.” Inspirational words coming from a leader of the wrestling team, Evan Yenolivich. Opportunity and success are two very important things that KU’s wrestling team thrives on. The upcoming wrestling season is right around the corner, and the team is looking strong conditioning hard to compete with the best opponents. One wrestler in particular, Yenolivich, in the 141 pound weight class, is looking forward to a powerful red-shirt junior year in which he gets another chance to battle for the NCAA Division II National Championship.
At the young age of 21, Yenolevich has already accomplished many goals on the wrestling mat, including the honor of being named the only All-American athlete in Kutztown Sports last year.
Since he was a child, Yenolivich laced up his wrestling shoes and took on any opponent who contested him. He started his career in the Lehigh Valley where he wrestled for Northwestern Lehigh High School. Yenolivich explained how high school competition was a breeze compared to the monsters he has faced on the mat in college. He ended his high school career a three-time Pennsylvania state finalist and, in his senior year, took first place, laying the gold medal around his neck.
When asked who motivates him to be the best, Yenolivich simply replied, “Only one person can motivate you to do great thing: yourself. I have to give thanks to my friends, family and supporters for helping me along the way, but wrestling is a mental sport. If you can’t believe in yourself, no one will.”
After high school graduation, Yenolivich moved his talents to Edinboro University where he wrestled aggressively as a red shirt freshman. Edinboro University is a NCAA Division 1 school for wrestling, and Yenolivich quickly figured out wrestling would be his one and only priority in life.
After a short stay with Edinboro, he realized that there had to be a balance between sports, school and his social life. Yenolivich made the decision to move back across the state and enroll as a Sports Management major at KU, where the competition is fierce, yet you still have a life.
“Kutztown has a great coaching staff, great team, and just great people all around. I love it here,” Yenolivich said about Kutztown as a whole.
Yenolivich is excited to see how this year is going to pan out for him and the team. He believes this squad is looking better than previous years.
“Our team is looking tough this year. I think we are ready to go. We are all better conditioned than last year. We only lost two teammates due to graduation, and half the team is Division 1 transfers, so things are looking good.” Yenolivich seems optimistic about what the future holds for Kutztown wrestling.
He plans to use the help of veteran wrestler Mitch Voelker and Division 1 transfer Austin Ormsbee to further increase his skills, fine-tuning him for this upcoming season.
“These guys are not only outstanding wrestlers, but they’re also my friends. It’s nice having your buddies around the practice room helping you get better day in and day out.”
To increase his chances of winning, Yenolivich overexerts himself, whether it’s in practice or the weight room. In wrestling, it is crucial to keep your weight down to the exact pound before you step on the mat. To assure that he is not overweight, Yenolivich says he practices with the team every day and has extra weight lifting sessions throughout the week. This is all in preparation for the upcoming 2013 NCAA Division 2 National Championship in March. If all goes as planned come the spring, Yenolivich will be on a flight to Birmingham, Ala. to compete in this year’s national tournament. Here, he will use his favorite wrestling move, “The Barrel Roll,” to pin his competition. Soon will be the start of an exciting year for Kutztown wrestling and Evan Yenolivich especially.
He finished by saying, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”
By Michael Viscomi