Chinook Sugarbeeter Ben Stroh has been one of the Montana's prolific prep wrestlers for the last three years. He has three state titles, and is about to embark on his senior season, where hopefully yet another state title awaits him.
But now Stroh has
one less thing to worry about heading into the new season. Stroh has been in touch with some of the top wrestling schools in the nation, and has finally made his decision. Stroh has chosen to take his wrestling talents to the University of Wyoming, a NCAA Division I school that competes in the Mountain West Conference.
Stroh had his pick of the litter. He had his choices narrowed to Nebraska, Iowa, Oregon State, Michigan State and Boise State, but felt Wyoming was the best fit for him and what he wants to accomplish. And as an added bonus, Ben’s older brother Robert Stroh is a redshirt-freshman for the Cowboys’ wrestling program already.
“I sat down and looked at my choices,” Stroh said. “And it was tough. But between Robert and the coaches that are down there (Wyoming), I figured this was my best option. (Robert and I) were really close all through school and he has pretty much made me the wrestler that I am. He taught me all my technique and everything, and getting to wrestle with him definitely played a part in my signing. But I didn’t just sign for that, it was a hard decision and I feel like I made the best one for me. I am happy with the decision.”
Wyoming isn’t exactly known for its dominating wrestling program, but the Cowboys are up and coming. They are a young program, and Stroh feels he is coming in at the right time. He hopes to be a big part in the programs’ success and feels that he can become a contributing wrestler after making the adjustment to a DI level.
“ Wyoming is coming up in the sport of wrestling,” Stroh said. “Not a lot of schools really know Wyoming for their wrestling right now, but they are coming up fast and will be in the hunt after a few more years. It is going to be tough adjusting to that level. The guys at that level are just so physical and always on you. You don’t take a breath without paying for it, and you almost need that redshirt year just to get used to practices and the intensity.”
After a redshirt year, Stroh is looking to hopefully wrestle for the Cowboys for four years. And if everything falls into place, he sees a national title and a couple of All American seasons in his future.
“That is anybody’s goal when they go in there,” Stroh said. “But I feel with the coaching and the practice that I am going to get there, that it can definitely be done. I just have to put in the work.”
But before Stroh can turn into a top collegiate wrestler, he has to finish out his high school career. The start of the 2011 wrestling season is upon him, and Stroh is looking to capture his fourth straight state Class B-C title. He currently holds an overall record of 105-2 and has already grabbed titles at 160, 171 and 189 pounds. He earned the title at 160 as a freshman, 171 as a sophomore and 189 as a junior.
Stroh was also climbing the ranks of a top football prospect this fall, and in the last two years on the gridiron, he helped Chinook win a state championship in 2010 reach the semifinals this season. But wrestling is where his heart is. And now the newest Wyoming Cowboy is just a few months away from Montana immortality. Stroh could become just the 19th Montanan to capture four state championships in February in Billings.
“I am excited,” Stroh said. “I love football, don’t get me wrong, but wrestling is where I have always been. I have been looking forward to this season for a while, and I always take it one year at a time and I feel like this is the last leg of a long journey. But I guess this is also the beginning of another journey.”