Former Wildcat wrestler Shonn Roberts continues to make his mark at the collegiate level as the 2017 NAIA All-American was recently named the Cascade Conference Wrestler of the Week.
Representing the University of Providence at the Reno Tournament of Champions in December, Roberts went 3-2 with two pins in the 149-pound weight division. One of the pins came against an NCAA Division I opponent from Oregon State.
A three-time state champion in high school, Roberts earned NAIA All-American honors last year after finishing seventh at Nationals. Roberts is ranked fifth in the nation in his weight class at the moment and says that college competition is fierce.
“The competition is much tougher since it is on a national level. I just try to win every match and take it day-by-day. The season is a lot longer and more intense and it is tough on you, but that is to be expected at this level,” he said. “The expectations of what they want out of you in practice and the accountability that our team puts on every single person. It changes who you are. The pressure is tremendous, but it makes you better.”
A business major, Roberts says that one of his proudest moments involved with wrestling came when he was inducted into the Wildcat Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015.
“It was a very special moment and it was great to have my family there and be recognized with some of the great athletes that have come out of Columbia Falls,” Roberts said.
While Roberts admits the transition to the collegiate level was tough, he says it was made easier by the fact that his college coach, Caleb Schaeffer, is the brother of Wildcat head coach Jessie Schaeffer.
“I have always been trained by a Schaeffer. I have my high school coach’s brother coaching me in college and that helped make the transition to college easier for me. I have always looked up to the Schaeffers and it was nice to stay in the family,” Roberts said.
Roberts says his goal is to keep improving as he gets ready for the NAIA Nationals, which will be held in De Moines, Iowa March 2-3.
“There is still a lot of room for improvement and there are a lot of things I need to work on if want to win,” he said. “I don’t know how many four-time All-Americans there are from this school, but that’s one of my goals. If I could do it, it would be amazing.”