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Thursday, May 30
The Indiana Daily Student

sports wrestling

Undersized, yet so dominant

It takes Nate Everhart more than an hour – almost two.

Almost two hours until he rips off his jumpsuit and heads for the spotlight where hundreds of eyes are glued.

As he approaches the mat, some stand up and cheer. Others make thunderous noise by stomping their feet on the bleachers.

No, Everhart is not the Tijan Jobe of the IU wrestling team, nor is he a lame warm-up partner who rarely gets his number called.

But, he is a fan favorite.

Everhart wrestles as a heavyweight, the class for wrestlers weighing more than 197 pounds and the last class of every match.

He could have chosen a sport that doesn’t make him sit on the bench longer than his teammates.

His stature isn’t quite the makeup of a heavyweight wrestler. One might say his 240-pound muscular physique is more suited for the gridiron. Come to think of it, Everhart could make an immediate impact at linebacker when stopping the run.
In fact, he was heavily recruited to play football while in high school.

But – as most skeptical athletes say – the aura of IU and its prestigious athletics programs made the decision a no-brainer.

“Originally, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to play football or wrestle,” Everhart admitted. “Baseball even got in the mix too. But when it came down to it, I visited IU and instantly wanted to be a Big Ten wrestler.”

It’s not like wrestling stood a distant third in Everhart’s eyes. It’s not like the coaches took a big gamble on this kid, either.

Everhart undoubtedly possesses the necessary experience to tussle in the Big Ten, arguably wrestling’s most nomadic conference.

He lived on the mat throughout high school, wrestling from a class as low as 171 and as high as 215 – versatile, to say the least.

Everhart’s freshman year saw him bout at 197. And due to an injury in his sophomore season, he inevitably had to make the transition to heavyweight.

Everhart said the heaviest opponent he wrestled weighed the maximum 285 pounds, 40 pounds heavier than Everhart. He chuckled when he relived that experience in his mind. As lopsided as that match was, the referee raised Everhart’s arm.

“It’s definitely challenging at times to go up against guys who are more than 30 pounds heavier than me,” Everhart said after his 3-1 victory against Purdue’s Chris Kasten.

“I’m undersized. I know that. But my mindset gives me an advantage over my opponents,” he said.

Sounds a bit like Michael Phelps when he was rewriting Olympic history.

Everhart doesn’t eat quite as much as Phelps, but close to it. He might not consume a whopping, yet sickening, 12,000 calories a day, but his 2,500 daily dosage is probably twice as much as the average Joe on campus eats.

He plays the smart card, too.

Like every well-trained athlete, Everhart understands what he can and cannot eat. That concentration, that determination to stay in tip-top shape, is what’s scripting a new chapter to his own career.

Everhart is riding a five-match winning streak, one of his best runs all season. He currently boasts an impressive 21-11 record in his new class.

On Friday, his arduous journey continues when he wrestles the No. 16 ranked heavyweight in the nation, John Wise of Illinois, the kind of matchup Everhart lives for.

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