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Steps Toward a Championship

by on March 27, 2013 11:49 AM

When State High alum Steve Bosak beat Bald Eagle Area alum Quentin Wright for the 2012 NCAA wrestling championship at 184 pounds, it wasn’t the first time a Bosak had defeated Wright. While much has been made of the way Steve and Quentin made each other better, it was Steve’s older sister, Kelly, who helped put both young wrestlers on the path to greatness.

“She used to pin me, I definitely remember that,” says Wright.

Kelly — who’s three years older than Steve — wrestled in the same elementary program and used to help Steve and Quentin work out.

“She was actually very good,” says Steve and Kelly’s mother, Debbie. “She was very coordinated and she was really quick. So she was a good training partner in elementary school.”

Their dad, also named Steve, says Kelly more than held her own and did help his son work on his quickness. The two of them used to roll around for hours on the wrestling mat the family had in their basement. Steve, who finished his career at Cornell with a third-place finish at this year’s NCAA Championships, used the lessons learned from his sister and father and continued to work hard, eventually making two appearances in the state finals representing State High. He lost both times, and the one his senior season was especially difficult.

“When he lost states his senior season, he was devastated,” the elder Bosak recalls. “We were all out in the hallway and my daughter was sobbing, and we were all upset — it was almost like we were in mourning. But it was interesting because after he won nationals, the next morning we were going to church and he tells me, ‘Dad, you know how hard it was when I lost states?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I remember.’ And he says, ‘ Well, that’s nothing now. Winning nationals is so much better.’

All that anguish over losing states was just gone. It was like therapy for him.”

While the national title is clearly the biggest moment of his wrestling career, Bosak says he remembers all of the steps along the way.

“There’s a lot of great moments that stand out,” he says. “It’s the stepping stones where you achieve a goal and then set a new goal and try to reach that. Winning nationals was certainly a big one. But I still remember when I was 7 years old and there was a kid who was beating me — he was pinning me and I was getting tech falled by him. And finally, after about a year of training hard to beat him, I did beat him. And that still sticks out to me. There have been a lot of instances like that in my career, and, really, they all stand out to me.”

Success has not come easily for Bosak but he feels that makes it all the more rewarding.

“My dad has always told me I was more determined than most,” he says, “and I think that’s really what it comes down to. You always have people that are very talented and gifted naturally, but I think the most determined people really separate themselves in college.”

Bosak wanted to forge his own way and get away from State College, and he says he still roots for Penn State, except against Cornell, and is grateful for the experiences he had there.

But the experience at Cornell has helped him grow, and he says, “I’ve never regretted it for a second. I have enjoyed everything about Cornell and have been exposed to so many great, positive people and experiences.”


Jeff Byers has been the wrestling team’s traveling announcer since 1990.
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