Former ELC wrestler takes skills to next level
SIOUX CITY — After coming home from college to watch Estherville Lincoln Central wrestlers compete, 2007 graduate Travis Helmers decided he missed the sport and joined the Briar Cliff University team.
“Previous coaches I had said I should give it a try,” he said.
He went to practice and the next week was competing at a meet.
“I had a bit of conditioning problem early on. The other wrestlers had been wrestling for four months versus one week (for me),” he said.
Now, Helmers is one of nine Briar Cliff NAIA national championship qualifiers–the most in school history–who begin competing today.
Although he has just a 5-14 record, the requirement for qualifying for nationals is finishing in the top 25 percent of any tournament bracket.
An ELC state qualifier in 2007, Helmers’ highest finish this season was a second-place finish at the Briar Cliff Invite.
He finished sixth at the NAIA North Regional on Feb. 23.
One wrestler from every school with a national qualifier is honored with a “Champion of Character” award. This year it was Helmers.
The obvious difference between high school and college wrestling is the level of competition.
“Everybody at this level placed at state or qualified (for state) a couple times,” Helmers said.
The techniques are also a little different. Helmers said there is more finesse with tilts and also duck-under moves from the neutral position.
“It’s more fast-paced,” he said.
His first collegiate win came at the BC Invite when he beat a wrestler from Baccone College in overtime.
“That kid’s now a qualifier at 157 (pounds),” Helmers said.