With wrestling season under way for the Pacific University Boxers, the team was given a new face this season with junior transfer Kaleb Winebarger who has made a positive impact on a young, inexperienced team.
Among the ten wrestlers on the team, only three are juniors, which leaves much experienced to be gained as the season progresses.
As for Winebarger, he has been a bright spot for the team in which he has put up impressive performances despite not wrestling for two years.
After high school, he was recruited to Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa. However, after his second semester started, he had a family emergency, which required him to stay home that second semester at Central Oregon Community College in Bend, Ore.
He then transferred to Linn Benton Community College in Albany, Ore. last
year. After finishing up his sophomore year of academics, he then looked at Pacific as an opportunity to get back into wrestling and pursue a Physician Assistant school after graduation.
“Pacific has always been on my radar, but immediately out of high school I felt like I needed to get out of Oregon,” Winebarger said. “When I ended up back here I began looking around again and Pacific was still high on my list, as I knew Pacific was a great school and is well known for its health profession graduate schools. This stuck out because I am hoping to go to Physician Assistant school after graduating.”
As for as the team and his performance, after taking the last two years off, he feels okay about his come- back performance, but knows what he needs to do to get where he wants to be.
“So far this year I feel okay about my performance,” Winebarger said. It has been a climb trying to get back to where I was before I took two years off, but I feel like I know what I need to do to get back to my peak performance.”
This year’s Boxer wrestling team is young and inexperienced, which gives much room for improvements. Winebarger believes the transition from high school to college wrestling is quite different and takes time to adjust to.
“I think the foundation of this team has been set, and now we just need to start building,” Winebarger said. “We have a very talented team with a lot of potential.”
With all the talent on this year’s team, Winebarger is looking forward to watching the team grow and hopefully exceed any expectations as they go into the second half of the season.
I think our team is driven, and really the biggest thing we can ‘improve on’ is just gaining experience and better understanding how college wrestling works,” Winebarger said. “I’m really excited to see how the rest of this year goes as we have surpassed the half way point in the season.”