Olympic hopeful returns to Port High mat

Star wrestler Alex Dieringer makes quick work of principal, former coach after speaking to students

ALEX DIERINGER POSED with Port Washington High School Principal Eric Burke (left) and his former wrestling coach Angelo LaRosa (right) after an exhibition match in which Dieringer, a world wrestling star and 2011 Port High grad, scored 10 takedowns in less than two minutes at an all-school assembly last Friday. Photo by Sam Arendt
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

Alex Dieringer’s message to Port Washington High School students last Friday was as succinct as his wrestling style.

Moments before he took on Principal Eric Burke and his former wrestling coach Angelo LaRosa, the three-time NCAA champion, international tournament winner and Olympic hopeful gave two simple keys to success: work hard and believe in yourself.

The two are intrinsically connected.

“If you don’t work hard,” Dieringer said, “you’re not going to believe in yourself.”

It’s not that Burke and LaRosa don’t believe in themselves, but they weren’t going to beat the physical and mental specimen of Dieringer.

The 2011 Port graduate was given three minutes to score 10 combined takedowns of Burke and LaRosa, who took turns wrestling Dieringer after being taken down. Dieringer needed less than two minutes and never broke a sweat.

“Honestly, it’s like wrestling a tornado,” Burke said.

“We wrestle every time he’s here so we knew what kind of beating we were in for,” LaRosa said. “He’s got superhuman strength and is definitely at the top of his game.”

For Dieringer, the quick match was nostalgic.

“Just like old times,” he said. “Nothing’s changed, really.”

During Friday’s assembly, video clips of Dieringer wrestling ran on a loop. He is always on the attack, quickly dominating opponents.

Dieringer is a graduate assistant at his alma mater, legendary wrestling school Oklahoma State, and helps coach the team. He does cardio work in the morning and evening and wrestles in between.

Training continues during trips home. After Friday’s assembly, Dieringer said he planned to go running.

“I’m staying prepared. I’m not going to take any time off,” he said.

Dieringer ran a clinic for wrestlers of all ages on Sunday, and attendees could learn plenty from the star.

This month, Dieringer took another step toward joining the U.S. Olympic team. He won two straight matches at the World Team Trials finals in Raleigh, N.C. Dieringer beat Zahid Valencia of Arizona State at 79 kilograms (174 pounds) by technical falls, 12-1 in the first period and 12-2 in the second.

That earned Dieringer a spot at Final X June 8 in New Jersey. He will wrestle Kyle Dake, returning world champion and four-time NCAA champion, in a best-of-three match to earn a spot on the U.S. men’s freestyle world championship team.

The world championships are in September in Kazakhstan.

At Port High, Dieringer won two state titles and took second once. He won three NCAA titles at Oklahoma State and won the Dan Hodge Trophy,  the wrestling equivalent of the Heisman.

Dieringer’s success comes from practicing what he preaches.

“It goes to show the hard work I put in,” he said. “I have confidence and believe in myself.”

LaRosa said Dieringer’s constant dominance triggers explanations to his Port High wrestling team that what Dieringer is doing is still amazing.

“They’re just so used to him winning,” he said.

A fundraising page has been set up to help Dieringer with training and travel expenses:www.gofundme.com/alex-dieringer-olympic-dream-fund.

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