OKLAHOMA CITY – After the days of competition are in the rearview mirror, it can be a struggle for wrestlers to fill their competitive tank and stay involved in the sport they love.
Gilbertville native Curt Frost fills that void as a wrestling official.
"With my job, I could never coach," Frost said Friday between sessions of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at Chesapeake Energy Arena. "So I said, 'To give back, stay in the sport, something you enjoy.' It's intense, but it's enjoyable."
Since officiating his 13th straight Iowa state tournament last month, Frost worked both the MAC conference tournament (where Northern Iowa finished second) and last week's Division III nationals at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids. Frost closes out his 18th season of officiating (including 11 at the college level) in Oklahoma City with his second trip to the Division I national tournament.
"This is where everybody wants to be, even wrestlers," Frost said. "That's your main goal."
Frost prepped at Don Bosco and wrestled for the Dons from 1981-85, qualifying for state as a junior.
"When you're competing, it's in your hands," Frost said. "In officiating, it's kind of out of your hands some of the strange situations you're going to run into. You've just got to stay even keel, watch the wrestling, and try not to get too emotionally involved in the match."
Following the season, Frost looks forward to his role as hitting coach of the Don Bosco softball team, where his daughter Morgan is a returning all-stater.
"From this, right into softball," Frost said. "It's fun. Being on the coaching side, you get to see the kids progress and feel good about themselves."
CMU loses wrestler
Central Michigan would have been better off had one of its seeded wrestlers not qualified, instead of making the trip and finish 2-2. The Chippewas’ 174-pounder Mike Ottinger was disqualified from the tournament during his third-round consolation match against Navy’s Matthew Miller Friday.
Ottinger, a junior, is a three-time NCAA qualifier and two-time Mid-American Conference champion, placed third at the conference tournament to advance. The Chippewas were stripped of his 1 ½ points for a first-round win and a consolation victory and then deducted a team point for unsportsmanlike conduct. The official violation was not provided.
Three times three?
Three wrestlers opened the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on a trek for a third NCAA title.
Ohio State’s second-seeded junior Logan Stieber, Penn State’s second-seeded Ed Ruth and Minnesota heavyweight Tony Nelson have won national titles the last two years and remained on pace after the quarterfinals. Nelson was trying to become the fifth three-time NCAA Division I heavyweight champion, joining Oklahoma State’s Earl McCready (1928-30), Dick Hutton (1947-48, 1950) and Jimmy Jackson (1976-78) and Pittsburgh-Johnstown’s Carlton Haselrig (1987-89).(K.J. Pilcher contributed to this report)