Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Wrestler Devoted to Sports, School

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Wrestler Devoted to Sports, School

Article excerpt

As a youngster, Mike Bloss played all sorts of sports - soccer, basketball, baseball and wrestling.

But, with the exception of one season of junior-varsity soccer as a sophomore, Mike has concentrated on wrestling at Francis Howell High.

"I love the emphasis on individual performance," said Mike, 18, a senior. "In baseball, eight guys can do everything right, but all it takes is for one guy to mess up and you can lose. In wrestling, while I'm still part of a team, it's up to me. If I go out and lose, I know that I have no one to blame but myself. There's always a certain pressure on you as a wrestler, but that's one of the things I enjoy most about the sport. "I love the pressure." Mike, the Post-Dispatch/Coca-Cola Athlete of the Week, carried a record of 19-0 into the Kyle Thrasher Memorial Tournament. A 160-pounder, he includes among his victories a 5-4 triumph over Kirksville's Kevin Powell, the defending Class 3A state champion at 160. "Powell's really the only guy to challenge Mike this season," Howell coach Jud Hoffman said. "Mike's really been wrestling well. He's already passed the 100-victory mark for his career, and he's wrestling with a tremendous amount of confidence." Mike is one of three fourth-year starters on the Howell varsity this season. But while teammates Ben Garner and Alex Kyle made the varsity right away, Mike really came out of nowhere. "I knew of Mike, but I didn't know that he was such an accomplished wrestler," Hoffman said. "Early in the season, our freshman coach came to me and told me about this kid who wanted a shot at wrestling varsity. I told Mike that he'd have to work his way up with challenge matches, and that's exactly what he did. "He ended up finishing sixth at state that year." Mike, who started wrestling at age 6, finished fourth at state in both his sophomore and junior seasons. He considers last year's state meet as one of his career lowlights. "I'm not sure what the problem was, but I must've been coming down with something; I couldn't stop coughing," said Mike, who stands 6 feet. "But I'm not going to use that as an excuse. I had my shot, and I didn't take advantage of it. …

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