A Story of KU Wrestler Collin Wickramaratna
By Devin Bender
Collin Wickramaratna is one of three captains of the KU wrestling team, a position he held both in his junior and senior year of college. Wickramaratna determines the coin toss before each game to decide what team throws out the first wrestler.
Wickramaratna works best in motivating the freshmen of the team and answers questions for the younger players. Wickramaratna believes that the biggest challenge that athletes today face is the “believe in yourself aspect,” and that many struggle to overcome this mindset. Wick additionally mentions that he has dealt with the same challenge throughout his own college career.
During the weekends, Wickramaratna wrestles on Saturday and Friday nights. Sundays are Wickramaratna’s rest days, as they are his only day off. “My biggest weakness is my sleep schedule,” Wickramaratna said.
Wickramaratna drinks around 50-60 ounces of water daily. His breakfast typically consists of a banana and granola bar followed by a sandwich for lunch. For dinner he eats a protein-based diet with vegetables that are light on starch.
When COVID first hit, wrestling at KU was canceled. Wickramaratna did not let this stop him from playing sports. He got into competitive spike ball. Wickramaratna and his friend Hunter Horon, who also is a wrestler at KU, played in the Nationals and ranked 17 out of about 100 teams. Wickramaratna and Horton plan to compete again next year.
Before he came to KU, Wickramaratna went to Ursinus College and transferred to KU in his junior year. In his one year as a freshman at Ursinus, he finished second in the Mideast Regional. This qualified him for the NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships.
Seth Eckard, the former assistant coach at KU for the 2019-2020 season, has always been Wickramaratna’s biggest role model. “We would have one-on-one talks in the practice room alone,” Wickramaratna said. “He got me right in my mental state.” Eckard helped Wickramaratna win his first Region Title back in 2020. “He was a very very big role model. It’s the reason why I won.”
Mike Zecmen was one of Wickramaratna’s coaches. “I had a lot of people telling me I couldn’t do this, I couldn’t do that” said Wickramaratna. “I think I just had [Zecman] who believed in me. Everyone else did not believe in me.” Even friends and family were telling him he could not do it. Zecmen helped Wickramaratna prove everyone else wrong.
After graduation, Wickramaratna plans to teach special education and coach the wrestling team at a college or high school. He has a long term goal of being married and having a child.