Senior John Seaman has the highest winning percentage for the wrestling team, with 14 wins and 2 losses. He has also finished third in the Concordia Open, pinning four straight opponents to place.
Seaman is a rare case in wrestling, as he has only had two coaches during his career. Having only two coaches in a sport that you have participated in for 13 years may seem crazy to some, but for Seaman, his hometown coach from Munster, Indiana and Eric Juergens, Augustana’s wrestling head coach, are the only two coaches he has known.
According to Seaman, staying in wrestling depends a lot on what the relationship between a wrestler and his coach is. For Seaman, both of the relationships he has with his previous and current coach have helped him stay in the sport.
“A good coach can make a big difference on whether or not you want to stay,” said Seaman. “When I started wrestling I had a great coach and he coached me all the way from when I was a little kid to my senior year in high school. When I came here I realized that he [Juergens] cares a lot about his wrestlers, and he truly wants them to have success on his team and he is not going to be gentle with you. He is a good motivator.”
Juergens also had a big impact in making Seaman choose Augustana. Originally coming to campus as a football recruit, Seaman was introduced to Juergens by the football coach and he gave Seaman a recruiting pitch that he had never had before.
“I went downstairs to meet with Coach Juergens and the next thing I know he was going to get me wrestling shoes, and said that we were going to go wrestle,” said Seaman. “Juergens is not a very big guy and I was 255 pounds when I came here for my trip, and he just whooped me. I was exhausted. I gave up more points then I could count, and I thought I had taken wrestling really far, but there I realized there was a lot more I could learn.”
Seaman began wrestling in the third grade and enjoyed the sport right away.
“I saw a flyer in the window in the library that said come out for wrestling if you like wrestling with your friends and I tried it, but back then it wasn’t so much the competition but more going in and having fun,” Seaman said.
Seaman has stuck with the sport, dropping football after his freshman year at Augustana. Wrestling is the only one on one sport he has ever played, and the contact aspect of it is something he has always enjoyed as well.
“The hard work and everything that comes along with once you start it, there is nothing else like it,” said Seaman. “It is very different. It is just you versus the other guy and it is the only one on one contact sport. In football, it is easy to blame the offense or someone else but with wrestling, it is just yourself to blame.”
Seaman will be returning for another year with the Vikings after this one, as he redshirted his junior year due to injury. The Vikings are currently 3-2 overall and rank 27th in the nation as a team.