Hunger to Win Fueled Todd Wilcox at Nationals
Story by Krisann Valdez
Action Photo by Harold Houser/Getty Press
Todd Wilcox lives to wrestle.
That should come as no surprise, considering his recent victory at the NCAA Division II Championships in the 133-pound weight class.
At last year’s nationals, Wilcox lost two tough matches: one to the wrestler who took fourth place overall and the other in double overtime to the eventual champion.
The losses weighed on him, and they pushed him to train this year with a new drive.
“I went into the season with an unexplainable hunger,” says Wilcox, a senior. “I should have placed last year. I never stopped thinking about that until I got my hand raised in the national finals this year.”
Wilcox owes his recent success to his relentless hard work and dedication.
“My entire life has revolved around wrestling the past two years I’ve attended GCU,” he says. “I’ve worked hard to improve myself because I believe whoever works the hardest will win.”
Wilcox entered nationals as the No. 1-ranked wrestler at 133, and he worked for it. If he wasn’t wrestling, he was reading wrestling books, watching wrestling film or following a wrestler’s diet.
Managing weight, he says, is the hardest part of wrestling. His competition weight is 20 pounds lighter than his normal body weight. In order to stay at 133, he had to follow a strict diet of lean meats, fruits, veggies and brown rice. Overeating is the hardest battle a wrestler faces, and for Wilcox junk-food splurges were not permissible.
His workouts, outside of wrestling practice, included hot yoga, running, swimming and lifting (light weights at a high intensity rate). Wrestling practice itself was intense under GCU’s coach, R.C. LaHaye.
“Our coach is great because he’s straight and to the point,” Wilcox says. “He pushes really hard in every workout, and we all benefit from it.”
This year, the Division II Championships were held in Kearney, Neb. Wilcox faced a 16-man bracket, wrestling two opponents both Friday and Saturday. He beat his final opponent, William Young from Newberry College, by a score of 8-3.
“I felt great. I controlled the whole match,” Wilcox says.
He described winning as a relief, saying, “I felt I could win as long as I didn’t mess up. I was on a more rigorous schedule than ever. I watched everything I ate, made sure I slept well and trained hard.”
Now with a championship under his belt, Wilcox, a senior majoring in psychology from Sacramento, Calif., hopes to attend GCU next year and serve as a graduate assistant coach in the wrestling program.
No matter what he decides to do, wrestling always will be part of his life.
“I love wrestling,” he says. “I love working hard. I love winning. I love getting my hand raised at the end of a match.”