Wrestler Nate Trepanier on how Lindenwood wrestling has braced for 2020/21 season


Photo by Don Adams Jr.

Lindenwood’s Nate Trepanier takes an opportunity to rest during a home match against Indianapolis on Jan. 19, 2020.

Dominic Hoscher, Sports Editor

From Oconto Falls, Wisc., senior wrestler Nate Trepanier traveled a little over 530 miles to the Southwest in order to attend Lindenwood University for their wrestling program.

Trepanier decided to go all the way to St. Charles, Mo. as a result of being impressed by the wrestling coaching staff and the campus itself at Lindenwood.

The senior, who is majoring in biology with the intention of becoming an optometrist, got into wrestling with help from his father when he was in third grade. At first, Trepanier wasn’t a fan of the sport. His dad had to “drag him to practices” and wasn’t able to win a match in his first year of competing.

Now in his fourth year at Lindenwood, Trepanier is competing for a Division II program in that same sport. After being a four-time first-team all-conference wrestler in high school, Trepanier went 20-17 in his freshman season of college. The next year, he had a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Regional.

Coming off a four win campaign in a shortened junior season, Trepanier is now preparing for whatever lies ahead in his fourth year at Lindenwood.

Q: A big question coming into the year is how eligibility will be affected for athletes who could be facing a shortened or altered season. How do you think you and fellow wrestlers will be affected by this going forward?

A:  The best-case scenario for everyone as a whole would be to compete this season. The second best would be receiving another year of athletic eligibility if our season is cut short. This would still offer lots of challenges, especially for a situation like mine where I am expected to graduate this year and a master’s degree for my career choice is not offered.

Q: If you were to be granted an extra year of eligibility, do you believe you would return for one more season? What would play into that decision?

A:  I am not sure if I would return given an extra year of eligibility. I have a lot that I want to prove this year, and it would be extremely hard to just walk away from that. Things that would influence this would include my education path, such as deciding if I want to double major to allow for another year.

Q: In such a unique time, each sport is facing different challenges that they haven’t had to go through before. How have you and the team dealt with these challenges over these past months?

A: I think we have dealt with these challenges by keeping a light feel about the situation. The team enjoys being around each other and we all realize the decision about our season is not our choice. We prepare the best we can, while still managing to have fun.

Wrestler Nate Trepanier competing in a dual against Central Missouri on Jan. 4, 2020. (Austin Landow)

Q: When it comes to preparations for a season full of unknowns, how have you individually gotten yourself ready for a potential season?

A: I have gotten myself ready for an individual season by putting in a lot of mat time through the summer with my younger brothers and practice partners. Being able to spend a lot of time coaching them has allowed me to look at things from a different perspective and apply it to my wrestling style. I also write down and post my goals, and do individual running workouts several times a week to stay prepared.

Q: As a team, how have you and the guys prepared?

A: As a team, we prepared by talking over Skype calls to still spend time with the team and by working hard in the workout slots we are given.

Q: Wrestling is, of course, a sport that heavily relies on one-on-one contact. In practice, what kind of adjustments have been made to adapt to the social distancing guidelines?

A: Our team has dealt with these challenges the best we can. We are forced to wrestle with the same practice partner for several weeks, do individual shadow wrestling workouts in the room, wrestle on certain mats with certain groups, lift in small groups with masks, and a lot more.

Q: How could you see these affecting future matches your team competes in?

A: Not being able to have our normal preseason and training opportunities could greatly affect athletes conditioning and performances. That being said, every wrestling program is going through similar complications. It depends on how well we individually prepare ourselves on top of what we are allowed to do as a team.

Q: Through all of this, how have you kept a level-head or stayed focused on wrestling with everything that’s going on?

A: There are a lot of changes going on, especially with classes going online. Staying focused on the goals ahead of us are what keeps us level-headed. We take it one day at a time and only worry about controlling what we can control.

Q: What is the overall mindset of the team with an unclear future ahead, and after a season that was cut short in early-2020?

A:  The overall mindset of the team has not changed. We plan to be prepared the best we can be if given a season. We have an experienced team that plans to be completing for a national title at the end of season.

Q: As a senior, how do you plan on, or how have you already, taken a leadership role?

A:  As a senior, I believe the best leadership role I can take is by leading by example. Working as hard as I can and preparing as best as possible will inspire others to do the same.

Q: In a time of such adversity, being able to overcome this can lead to benefits down the road. Do you see it this way, and if so, what kind of positives do you think you could take away from a unique season?

A: There are definitely some positives that can be taken away. Being online during the day gives us more time to focus on our studies. Additionally, being in small groups for workouts allows for a more one on one coaching experience, which can greatly improve our technique. We are with the same small groups for all of our workouts, so we are able to form closer relationships and get to know teammates better.

Interview conducted via email.