NORMAN, Okla. -- For the first time in his athletic career, senior E.K. Waldhaus has accepted that he will only participate in one sport. After enjoying much success in both football and wrestling, Waldhaus has found his place as the 174 pound starter for the Oklahoma Sooners wrestling team. But this transfer from the University of Wyoming had the athletic ability to succeed in more than just wrestling.
Waldhaus started wrestling in eighth grade and continued into high school where he became a two-time Colorado state champion and recorded a 36-0 record as a senior at Pueblo South High School. During this time he also lettered in football as a running back and was named all-conference.
During his senior year of high school Waldhaus was recruited in both football and wrestling, but he wanted a university that would allow him to do both.
“I really wanted to play football in college,” said Waldhaus. “I told all the schools that recruited me in wrestling I wasn’t interested unless they let me play football.”
“I ended up at the University of Wyoming because they said they would let me do both.”
Waldhaus competed in both sports his freshman year at Wyoming, but due to scholarship technicalities he was unable to play football his sophomore year.
“I continued to work out with the football team and even told the coaches that I was willing to give up my wrestling scholarship to be able to participate in both sports,” said Waldhaus.
At the completion of his sophomore year Waldhaus needed a change and asked his high school wrestling coach for help. He suggested Waldhaus call coach Jack Spates at the University of Oklahoma to discuss the possibility of transferring.
“I liked what Oklahoma had to offer and I came into wrestling as a walk-on so I could go out for the football team,” said Waldhaus. “I didn’t realize how big football was here until I got here.”
Waldhaus accomplished his goal by making the Oklahoma football team as a walk-on, as well as compiling a 16-5 record on the mat.
“I made the football team, but I wasn’t going to be a starter,” said Waldhaus. “I figured out that playing both sports just wasn’t going to work out.”
“It was disappointing that it had to come to that,” said Waldhaus. “But, all I wanted was a chance to say that I don’t want to play football anymore and not for a coach to tell me I can’t.”
After dropping football Waldhaus excelled in wrestling. In his second year at Oklahoma he became a starter at 174 pounds, placed third at the Big 12 Conference Championships, led the Sooners in takedowns with 56 and compiled a record of 28-10.
“All in all it came down to you can’t do two sports and do well in both,” said Waldhaus. “I’m satisfied with my choice and I’m happy where I’m at.”
Waldhaus has found his place in wrestling and in participating on the mat for the Sooners.