Head coach Blake Olson with some of his wrestlers.

For Strawberry Crest’s head wrestling coach, Blake Olson, wrestling has always been a focal point of his life. Prior to taking the reins of Strawberry Crest’s wrestling program in 2018, Olson had already coached for years with extensive experience wrestling himself.

After a successful high school career, Olson committed to continuing his athletic and academic career by wrestling at the NCAA Division III level for North Central College in Naperville, Illinois for four years. Wrestling did not stop there for Olson, however, as he continues to compete in open division tournaments to this day.

Olson’s coaching career began years ago when he started working with youth wrestlers while still in high school in 2011. His first full coaching job came after he graduated from college when he signed on to be the head coach at Wilmington Middle School before moving on to be an assistant coach at Wilmington High School. His final stop before coming onto staff at Strawberry Crest was as an assistant coach at Millikin University in Illinois.

Coaching was always the goal for Olson, having fallen in love with wrestling in his youth, with a penchant for the technical aspect of the sport. This shows up in his coaching, as he and his staff focus on having a technique first approach. This allows for the training to be applied fairly evenly across the board for all weight classes.

“I think one of the ways I try to distinguish myself and our program is through technique. I’ve always taken a technique-first approach, and we spend a lot of time concentrating on technical theory and execution with live wrestling,” Olson said.

Olson views wrestling to be somewhat representative of life as the skills they learn and practice, like discipline and consistency, can be used to ensure that they fulfill their potential. He enjoys seeing his players work through the process of becoming good at something, and achieving, whether it is on or off the mats.

“It’s easy to bring up podium performances, like coaching an NCAA finalist … or the state placers I have coached while at Crest, but I would say my biggest accomplishments happen every year when I see my former wrestlers accomplish major life goals, like being the first in their family to graduate college, graduating from the police academy or getting a big promotion,” Olsen said.

While no one can predict the future, Olson is currently entirely focused on Strawberry Crest, and he is dedicated to helping the program and his wrestlers become the best that they can be.

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