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Poloskey Eyes Division III Perfection

By Joshua Newman

His face said it all. As I stood outside the wrestling room with Keith Poloskey, who was all dressed and ready for practice, asking him questions with a tape recorder in his face, I could tell his attention was elsewhere. With every answer came a glance to his right to see what his teammates were doing inside. With the last question answered and pleasantries exchanged, he headed inside to join his team and to undoubtedly outwork everyone.

Although he may not admit it, 141-pound All-American wrestler Keith Poloskey seems to be on a mission. With his record standing at 27-0, he is ranked No. 1 in Division III in his weight class (his only losses came when he competed in a Division I tournament earlier this season). Even though his legacy is already etched in stone as the third four-time national qualifier and third three-time All American in the 90-year history of the program, he has had a taste of the national championships before, and wants not only himself, but also his teammates, to go out on top. He is hoping to become the second national champion SC has ever had and the first since heavyweight Jeff Blatnick back in 1979.

“The only thing left is to win a national championship, but ideally I would like some other guys like Billy Ivatts and Mark Mendes to get some All-American status in their last years,” said Poloskey.

Poloskey began wrestling when he was in the sixth grade and started to get serious the following year when he competed for his junior high school team. As he continued to progress as a wrestler, he made the normal progression up to the varsity level, and began rocketing to prominence.

Poloskey, who is now a graduate student studying sports management and recreation after graduating this past December with a degree in physical education, also played four years of soccer at SC. He actually came on a visit when he was in high school with his soccer club coach, but after leaving his resume with wrestling coach Darryl Arroyo, he ended up playing two sports. Arroyo knows he will be losing a great competitor when Poloskey’s college career ends in a few weeks.

“You’re gonna miss any talented kid,” Arroyo said. “He’s a captain and one of our best wrestlers. He’ll be among the (top) echelon of people we’ve had in our program.”

He spearheads a team that completed their dual meet season with a record of 15-9 and was ranked as high as 10th nationally. One may think that a wrestler with this kind of college career at a Division III school maybe could have competed and done fairly well at the Division I level. This is probably true, but the four-year starter wasn’t interested in simply competing. He was more interested in having constant success, not to mention his desire to continue on with soccer.

Poloskey, said, “I got recruited by some pretty big Division I programs like Penn State, but I decided to go Division III because I wanted to play two sports. If I had gone Division I, I probably would have gone to a big-name school and had trouble starting until probably my junior year. I wanted to be a starter right away and have success the whole time.”

The work ethic of any athlete has to be at a high level in order to be successful. However, we’re not talking about any athlete. We are talking about an athlete who has the chance this year to be what every athlete strives to be: perfect.

“He’s really stepped up his work ethic; he’s been working a lot harder. He’s been a two-time All American and knows this is his last shot to win it, and we’ve seen a big difference in the effort that he has been putting in,” said Arroyo.

There are very few questions left to be answered. Nobody asks where his place will be in SC history just as nobody asks why he chose a Division III program. Certainly no one will question his work ethic on or off the mat. The only question left to be answered regarding Keith Poloskey is will he go out a national champion. His final tests will come as he competes in the NECCWA Championship this Saturday and Sunday at Roger Williams, and at the NCAA Division III Championship on March 7-8 in Ada, Ohio.

Joshua Newman is a writer for the Springfield Student and is a student assistant in Sports Communications.
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Head Coach Jason Holder Jason Holder will enter his third season as head wrestling coach in 2013. Holder had a standout first season at the helm of the Pride, leading Springfield to the NEWA Duals Championship and taking three wrestlers to the NCAA Championships. Read more.

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