These 30 rock
The 30 Columbians
The image of a victorious Ben Askren is hard to miss: an untamed curly blond afro dancing above outstretched linked arms. It’s this image, the acquisition of his two NCAA Wrestling National Championships, his streak of 87 wins and his potential slot on the 2008 Olympic wrestling squad that defined the 2007 graduate’s past four years at MU. But it is a promise to his brother that could define the next few.
“I stayed because I told my brother I would stay here until he was done with his college career,” Askren says.
Although WrestlingReport.com ranks Askren’s younger brother, Max, fourth in the nation in his weight class for 2008, he has hefty shoes to fill on the team.
Firsts define Ben Askren’s career as a Tiger. He was named to the NCAA’s All-American wrestling team four straight years, the first MU athlete to do so. He clinched his second consecutive NCAA National Championship in 2007 and was named the Big 12 Male Athlete of the Year, the first MU athlete to earn the accolade since basketball star Anthony Peeler in 1992. He won 87 consecutive matches throughout his junior and senior years, another MU first.
Askren’s heap of accomplishments result from the wrestler’s diligence, says Mizzou wrestling coach Brian Smith.
“But what these awards show is how hard Ben worked for this team and pushed himself every single day along the way,” Smith says.
After all these honors, Askren still isn’t satisfied. Coaching allows him the time to train for the next conquest: wrestling in the 2008 Olympics.
“I work out twice a day almost every day and sometimes more,” Askren says. “It’s a lot, but I am willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.”