Slifka Enjoys Being Back on The Mat
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While attending Crestwood High School, Slifka qualified for the state tournament three times, and in his senior year he earned the state championship title. The motivated wrestler finished his senior year 33-2.
Besides being an accomplished wrestler in high school, Slifka also played on the football team. He lettered in football two years and was a two-time all-district honoree.
"I had to decide if I wanted to play football or wrestle in college during my junior year of high school," Slifka said. "I actually chose to play football."
After winning his prep state championship, wrestling recruiters were highly interested in him, even though the coaches knew he already had chosen to play football.
Slifka went on to play for the Iowa State football team. His senior year in college, he wanted to get back on the mat and compete once again.
"I really missed the sport," Slifka said. "My little brother, Brandon, started going to tournaments and I'd watch him wrestle. I missed being on the mat."
Slifka's hometown is Cresco, Iowa, which is a town known for its love of wrestling. Cresco is also the hometown of former Iowa State wrestling head coach Harold Nichols. Nichols coached Iowa State to six NCAA championships between 1953 and 1985.
Slifka was excited to start wrestling for Iowa State. Right after he finished with the football season, he began to train for wrestling.
"Both sports are tough when it comes to training," Slifka said. "In football, you are training your body for 60 minutes straight with spurts of five to six seconds every 45 seconds. With wrestling, you are just going seven minutes all out."
The differences in training techniques are something that Slifka has not had a problem to which adapating.
"The wrestling part of him has never left even though he's been in football," Iowa State wrestling head coach Kevin Jackson said. "He's handled it all really well. He's pushed through every single workout, and I don't think he's missed a workout that we've had. Football might have been easy for him, the way he approaches the wrestling training."
Slifka handled the adjustment from the football field to the wrestling mat fairly well.
"It took awhile to get all of the rust out of me," Slifka said. "Once I started getting in the room about three or four weeks after they were done with nationals last year, I felt good."
Slifka has adjusted well with the wrestling team. He is happy he has had the opportunity to put on an Iowa State singlet and wrestle for a school many legends competed for.
"I thank Coach Jackson for letting me do that," Slifka said.
Slifka is graduating this spring with a bachelor's degree in liberal studies.