BISMARCK, N.D. - Being a college wrestler requires a level of dedication most people just cannot understand. The diet, the competition, and the attention to detail is intense.
Tate Barnhardt has a chance to finish his University of Mary career as one of the best in program history.
“Mister consistent,” that’s one way of describing him, as Head Coach Adam Aho said, while senior wrestler, Nate Humann, said, “He is a very diligent individual.”
“It’s been really fun to see how far the team and me have grown in the last three years,” says Barnhardt.
What began as a family activity between Barnhardt, his younger brother, and his dad, soon became an activity made for him.
"I started when I was a first grader maybe when I was pretty young, like in an actual practice, but my dad wrestled and he wrestled with me and that was kind of where it started. It kind of changed, like in elementary school I loved football, and then I started playing traveling baseball, and then that was kind of my go-to sport, and then once I started wrestling varsity at St. Mary's, that's when I really fell in love with wrestling," said Barnhardt.
Turns out Barnhardt joined the Marauders wrestling program at the right time. His skills on the mat flourished shortly after he put on that blue and orange singlet.
"Well, he beat both the national champion and national runner-up last year, and so just that alone tells us that, he also beat another All-American. And he's won, he's been the academic All-American for us three years in a row, he'll win it again this year, so I mean, just off the mat as well," said Aho.
"He's just a role model that everyone can look at,” added Humann, “and this is the blueprint for our program, this is how you succeed, the way he lives his life on and off the mat, it's just, that's the way you need to do it, and it's been really inspiring."
In addition to beating the 2017 national champion, Barnhardt holds the UMary record for most wins in Division 2 history, but that's not been his goal.
"To be a national champion. I know I have what it takes to be a national champion, but now it's just a matter of putting all together at the right time. If you were to ask me four years ago where I'd be, be now, I would never guess that it would be where I'm at right now," said Barnhardt.
As Barnhardt works to earn the ultimate prize, he's working hard to achieve his life goal as well, to get into dental school after graduating from UMary.
Barnhardt says he should find out if he gets accepted into dental school in December.