The Citadel wrestling team doesn't get a lotof attention even though it is one of the better athletic programs at themilitary college. And one of the guys who's led to the Bulldogs' success is someone who didn't speak English eight years ago.
Mongolian native Turtogtokh Luvsandorj.
Luvsandorj is actuallyone of the best wrestlers in program history. Maybe the best. When hebeat his opponent from Duke 10 days ago, he broke the school's all-timewins record.
However, before heaccomplished this goal you could tell he wants more.
"I was happy, I was excited" said Luvsandorj "but we need a National Championship. It's not about how many matches you've won. It's about the quantity or the quality I think, and my goal is to be an All-American and National Champion this year."
Still, he knows he'shad a great career. Two individualSouthern Conference titles, one SoCon wrestler of the year honor and he'scurrently ranked 7th in the nation in his weight class.
The reason for thissuccess, according to his head coach, is the work Luvsandorj puts in on hisown time.
"It's one thing to come in and do what's expected of you when the coaches are there pushing you" said Bulldogs Head Coach Rob Hjerling. "It's the things that he does when no one's around that really standout."
"If I do the same things as them (other wrestlers), I'm gonna be the exact same as them" Luvsandorj said. "So if I do extra work on my own time, I'm gonna be higher. Next workout, I'm gonna be higher and higher. That's what I believe."
This uncommon desireto work hard is because he has no family here in this country. They are all half-wayaround the world. So there is nothingelse for him here, nothing else to fall back on.
And even though he'sonly seen his parents once in the last eight years, he's found at least onepositive in his situation.
"I think it's less pressure so I don't have to win or show anyone what I do. I just wrestle. Nobody's watching me. If I win, I just tell them I won."
The 174-pounder admitshe doesn't think about his family and friends back home much. It's easier onhim emotionally. But he feels he honorsthem with what he is doing here at The Citadel.
"A lot of them always wanted to come here for a better life but they didn't get the opportunity. But I got it. They got me the opportunity and I really appreciate it. That's why I'm here right now." he said
And the young man, known as Turtog to his teammates and coaches, believes he has another familyat the military college. One that has opened his eyes to a different world.
"It's weird, I've never seen black people before in my life, never seen white people, Hispanic. All these different people from everywhere. And now I'm with them, it's crazy. But I like them, they're my teammates and they support me." Luvandorj said
"This is his family for sure and we're aware of that" Hjerling said. "This has become his lifestyle since his sophomore year of high school."
Turtogtokh Luvsandorjsays he's also tried to educate his teammates about his native country. A country he hopes hecan wrestle for in the 2016 Olympics.
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