Athlete of the week – Cougar Larsen

Senior Cougar Larsen prepares for a match with one of his teammates.

Cassie Ammann / Legacy Media

Senior Cougar Larsen prepares for a match with one of his teammates.

The smell of sweat fills the stale air. Heat encompasses the room as warm bodies fight for dominance on the wrestling mat. This is just a regular day at practice for senior Dallin Cougar Larsen.

The story of senior Cougar Larsen began before he was born. His older brother would always tell everyone that his mother was having a cougar due since he was a BYU Cougars fan.  So his parents decided to make Dallin’s middle name Cougar.  At the beginning of his junior year, he moved from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Spring, Texas. It was a new year at a new school and Larsen thought it was time to try something new, so he decided to join the wrestling team.

“When I met Cougar on his first day, I thought ‘Oh, here’s another kid who wants to try and be on the wrestling team’, but boy, was I wrong,” senior Isaac Prado said. “He was so eager to learn about wrestling and committed to be the best he could possibly be from the very beginning, and still to this day.”

According to Larsen, as he worked to catch up with the rest of the team, his dedication and perseverance pushed him hard enough to achieve the unthinkable for most newcomers in wrestling.

“Some accomplishments I have made are making the varsity team my first year in wrestling and placing 2nd in the 18th annual Doc Hess tournament,” Larsen said. “This year I hope to letter and go to state with my teammates.”

With goals in mind, according to Larsen, the varsity wrestling team makes sure to practice as hard as they can in order to attain their goals.

“One of our big goals in training is to pick up the intensity every day,” Larsen said. “We wear full sweats and coach heats up the room. This is all while wrestling. Then after drilling and wrestling in live mat situations, we condition with even higher intensity.”

This training routine helps build stamina and make the team push themselves in harder situations according to Larsen.

“Above all other reasons for liking the sport, is Coach Kenny Rucker,” Larsen said. “His ability to push me hard and be kind at the same time is just amazing. He’s one of the best people I know! He’ll do anything you ask, and I know I can always go to him for help with anything.”

Despite only being on the team for a year and a half now, according to Prado, Larsen has left a deep impression on his team.

“Cougar is a good example of what all of us on the team should strive to be,” Prado said. “In my opinion, he works harder than anybody else on the team. He also battled through many injuries, still is, but he doesn’t let that slow him down one bit. He keeps going.”