The journey of perspective
Boise State's Hochstrasser relishes path to prominence
Roger Moore, NCAA.com
The journey from Tooele, Utah, to Philadelphia has been anything but normal for Andrew Hochstrasser.
The one constant? Victories on the mat.
Last Friday night, however, Hochstrasser, a Boise State University senior 133-pounder, suffered his first loss of the 2010-11 campaign, falling 5-2 to Oklahoma State’s undefeated and top-ranked Jordan Oliver. Hochstrasser, now 21-1 this season, knows it’s just one match.
“There really was a lack of urgency on my part,” admitted Hochstrasser. “(Oliver) is really good and you have to try and get him out of his element. I’m not going to forget about the match because he’s shown that he is the one to beat.
“But at the (NCAA Championships) anybody has a chance to upset anybody. I’m not going to look past anybody but I’m looking forward to getting another shot.”
At Tooele – located southwest of Salt Lake City – Hochstrasser won four Utah state titles and compiled an impressive 170-8 prep record. He also pinned a state-record 133 opponents.
Hochstrasser made a quick transition to the Division I level, winning 29 of 37 bouts as a freshman 125-pounder in 2004-05. He competed at the 2005 NCAA Championships.
For the next two years Hochstrasser served a mission in Alabama for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“It was something I had thought about for most of my life,” Hochstrasser said. “There was never a question of not going on a mission. I knew I wouldn’t be able to wrestle as much but I was actually to help a few high school teams in the area. It was more of a coaching thing, not really getting to work out as much.
“Alabama is a football state, so there was always a pull towards football when the time came.”
Returning to Boise, Hochstrasser redshirted during the 2007-08 season. He was 19-1 in Open tournaments.
“It took a lot of patience,” he said. “There were some things I had to work on. There were things my head wanted to do but my body wouldn’t allow it sometimes. It took some time to get back to where I needed to be. But you have to push yourself, come back the next day and try and improve.”
Finally back in the lineup full-time, Hochstrasser was among the nation’s best in 2008-09. At the NCAA Championships he rolled to the 133-pound semifinals where he lost to Michigan State’s Franklin Gomez and eventually finished fourth. All told it was a 35-4 record.
Injuries and eligibility issues gave Hochstrasser just eight matches in 2009-10.
“As rough as (last year) was I tried to look at the positive side of things,” said the Utah native. “There was really nothing I could do about it at the time. I just focused on getting ready to come back this year.”
And come back he has.
His first three matches of the season saw him outscore opponents, 44-0. He added an 8-second pin in the second round of the Las Vegas Invitational on Dec. 3.
Entering his second match-up with Oliver – the two met at the NWCA All-Star Classic on Nov. 21 with Oliver winning the exhibition, 8-7 – Hochstrasser had 15 bonus-point wins in 21 starts.
Meeting No. 2 saw Oliver (22-0) score takedowns in the first and third periods and manage to come out unscathed twice during intense scrambles.
“I feel really good about where things are right now,” Hochstrasser said. “I’m doing what I love to do. I just need to put everything together at once, wrestle my best the rest of the way.”
The Bronco senior is a big part of a team that has NCAA team title aspirations. Despite falling 28-6 to the fourth-ranked Cowboys, Boise State has the firepower to contend in Philadelphia.
Senior 157-pounder Adam Hall is 22-0 and was an All-American in 2010. Fellow senior Kirk Smith (8-1), although injury defaulting against OSU, is a contender at 184 pounds after advancing to the NCAA finals last March.
And junior Jason Chamberlain suffered his first defeat of the season on Friday. The 149-pounder is 21-1 and ranked among the top five in the country.
Boise State’s best finish at an NCAA Championship is a tie for 10th (1999 and 2001).
Hochstrasser would certainly like to finish his collegiate journey in style. And in the process help the Broncos battle for top honors.