Feb. 6, 2013
- by Maddie Heinsohn, Media Relations Intern
Senior Todd Porter has been wrestling since he was eight years old. However, he believes his best is yet to come.
"My favorite moment hasn't happened yet," Porter states. "My biggest story will come at nationals when I'm an All-American."
For most people in Porter's position, his season would already be considered a success. Todd Porter walked on to the Mizzou Wrestling team in 2008 as a freshman, but was placed on reserve behind Dorian Henderson, the reigning Big 12 Champion. Porter remained on reserve for four years. Now, it's his time to shine and he's not wasting the opportunity.
Wrestling at 174 pounds for the Tigers Porter remains undefeated in dual meets. He has a 25-6 season record as well as a team-leading 43 takedowns in 13 dual bouts. Porter also took down number one ranked Chris Perry of Oklahoma State on February 1 by major decision. Perry had been 21-0 this season before facing off against the Mizzou grappler.
Porter credits his success this year to completely buying in to the preaching of his coaches on Tiger Style. Tiger Style is the Mizzou Wrestling philosophy that encompasses the goals and expectations of the program, founded on "belief," "expectation," and always giving "one more." Whether it's one more sprint, or curl, or squat, it all focuses in on the idea of "exceeding expectation." The philosophy has helped Porter transform his routine and increase his focus.
Growing up in House Springs, Mo., Porter originally wanted to do karate because his uncle practiced the sport. That dream quickly changed when Porter's older brother brought home some wrestling brochures and propelled Todd into the sport he loves today. When it came time to pick where to go to school Porter had the influence of a fellow wrestler.
"My biggest influence in coming to Mizzou was Michael Chandler
," Porter said. "We went to the same high school and I grew up watching his success, and I wanted a piece of that."
Chandler wrestled for Mizzou from 2004-2009, was a four year starter, four-time NCAA qualifier, and two-time MMA lightweight champion. In other words, he is quite a role model.
Watching someone as successful as Chandler for years and then being put on reserve for the majority of his career hasn't been easy for Porter. In fact, thoughts of quitting have crossed his mind several times in his career.
"There were times last year when I wasn't starting and I'd maybe be coming off a bad day of practice that I'd question myself and what I was doing here with my time," Porter remembers.
Porter went on to describe the support of his teammates as an important factor in his decision to tough it out. For Porter, the wrestling team is like a small fraternity or a band of brothers. His dedication to and love for his teammates is evident throughout his journey.
What is even more evident is Todd Porter's pure love of the sport. Year after year, practice after practice, Porter returned to the mat. Like all division one athletes, wrestlers have a demanding workout schedule on top of maintaining their grades. Wrestlers also have to modify their diets to make weight each week, which is a commitment in itself.
"It's just where the heart was I couldn't see myself doing anything else. I just love the sport," Porter said simply after being asked why he stuck with it.
Porter's passion and dedication to a sport he loves is a lesson he believes he will carry on throughout the rest of his life. His struggles and triumphs on the mat have built good character and he knows that he can commit to anything he really wants. Through his experience on the wrestling team Porter was able to learn a lot about himself and his abilities on and off the mat. Right now, he doesn't have any definite plans for after college, but is considering the military or finding a job with the Missouri Department of Conservation. Porter also jokingly mentioned his "plan C" route as a potential wrestling coach.
Porter's passion and commitment would be an ideal model for any aspiring wrestler to follow.
"If you love it stick with it. Your time will come," Porter said.
After Porter's decisive victory over the No. 1-Perry Friday night, his time might just be now.