In the span of three years Tyler Westlund has gone from wrestling high schoolers at North Boone to preparing for the Olympic wrestling trials in Freestyle-Greco Roman.
“It’s a whole other level. You know and I’m going up against grown men. So it’s a little bit different,” says Westlund. “I’m only 20. I’m pretty young so seeing their style and everything it’s a big change.”
After graduating from Boone Tyler joined the Air Force where he is a Airman First Class and a member of the Air Force wrestling team. At the moment Tyler is on a short leave and is back home working with his old wrestling Coach Don Fielder. Fielder started working with Westlund when he was a sophomore at North Boone, and Fielder says Westlund has come a long, long way.
“The funny part about Tyler is when the first week of practice we actually took him off into a private room, and one the of coaches sat down with him. We had to work on everything. He was really green. His technique was terrible,” says Fielder.
But Westlund’s not so terrible anymore. He won the NUWAY (National United Wrestling Association for Youth) Championship in 2014. He made the Military World team, and was on his way to winning last year’s Armed Forces Wrestling Championship, but he fractured his elbow in the final.
While Westlund is home Fielder is using him as a teaching tool for younger wrestlers like Westlund’s own litter brother.
“The first day of practice I introduced him and said, ‘You know this is where you want to be’. We don’t wrestle just for folk style here. We want to make sure if you want to be an Olympian you can,” says Fielder.
When his time at home is up Westlund will head to the regional training center at Ohio State University. For him it’s Olympics or bust.
“Win as many matches as possible, win the Olympic Trials that’s the goal. That’s the big goal. Anything less we’ll take it but I’m not satisfied. You want to win it all. That’s the goal.”