Tue, Apr. 10, 2012 - [Wrestling]
Over the course of Division III Week, we will look at specific examples of how these three tenets of the NCAA's largest division are alive and well on the Loras College campus with our student-athletes. Today, we take a closer look at the career of Pat Pfantz and all that he has discovered over the last four years.
Pat Pfantz knew a little bit about Loras College in 2007 as he searched for colleges to attend. His cousin was a student-athlete with the Duhawks and an Athletic Training major about that time, and former Duhawk wrestler and record holder Jay Figgins' grandparents live in State Center, Iowa.
He was comfortable in his decision to attend a small school, saying "I wasn't sure I would be successful at a big school."
At Loras College, success has followed Pfantz. He is a member of Loras College's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. He is a Sports Science major. He is the secretary of the Kinesiology Club. He's also discovered a lot in his time at Loras College. He will graduate this May with that Sports Science degree.
For starters, he began with a primary interest in a biology major, focusing on a pre-med curriculum. After his sophomore year, he discovered a more specific passion with the anatomy portion of his class work and shifted to Sports Science. There, he could settle into chiropractic care, a field that helped him to compete at a higher level after visiting with a chiropractor.
"Your body takes a beating over the course of the wrestling season, your neck and back especially," Pfantz said. "It was amazing what it did for me, it helped me on the mat so much."
Pfantz will continue his education at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa this fall where he will continue to discover more about the industry.
Through his classwork at Loras, he was also able to learn more about nutrition and strength and conditioning.
"I shared as much with my team and teammates as I could and incorporated what I was learning in the classroom into the wrestling room and onto the mat," Pfantz says.
Among the conditioning things Pfantz learned about himself was an asthma diagnosis which prevented him from doing even more while with the Duhawks. In this case, Pfantz was hoping to join the Iowa National Guard on a full-time basis after spending some time with the ROTC program at the University of Dubuque.
"I wanted to do my duty for my country and I've tried for full admission several times."
He has been unable to meet the requirements of the National Guard despite his otherwise strong physical condition and fitness level.
And so, the next step for Pat was a role as a de facto recruiter for the National Guard. He has ushered towards the group teammates Erik Hanson and Matt Holmes who have each been sworn in. The Loras wrestling team also spent time in the preseason training at the local National Guard site near the Dubuque County Fairgrounds.
Of course, student-athletes also work jobs to buy books, pay tuition, pay rent and cell phone bills, and have some extra cash in their pockets. Pat does his work at the Coca-Cola facility in Dubuque.
"The schedule can be a tough one to juggle, but it has worked for me," Pfantz said.
Depending on the time of year and how much work needs to be done Pfantz may work as many six days a week and arrive on site as early as four or six o'clock in the morning.
The 125-pound wrestler clearly smiled when reflecting on how much he has ‘discovered' in his time at Loras.
"I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know anyone when I came to Loras. I was able to meet a bunch of new people. I've grown," he said.
"Our athletes support each other and share in each other's successes. The professors know you by name, not a number. All of that was really important to me and made me feel good about my decision to be at Loras."
Pat Pfantz won 75 matches while in a Loras singlet and rattled off some of his greatest memories over the past four years.
"Beating Luther at the conference duals my freshman year. And we were all looking forward to New Orleans this year. It lived up to the expectations and was a lot of fun."
Pfantz was also the first Loras wrestler to take the mat inside the Athletics and Wellness Center on February 9, 2012.
"It was a nice highlight to wrap up my career on campus - to be a part of the first event in there," he recalled.
"I've grown and really found myself."