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Earl Hines Trio - Louise

In a 2013 interview with the Western Carolina Journal, Patten recounted the rough, early years of his career (being cut loose from the Canadian Football League, ignored during the 1996 NFL draft, and, after a year in the Arena Football League, being picked up, then dropped by the Giants), and how he finally found his footing with Brady and the Patriots.

Earl Hines Trio - Louise

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January 28, 1999EAST LANSING, Mich. - For many college freshmen, the transition from high school to college is a learning experience. For Division I athletes, the process is no different. While the incoming freshmen may have been the best athletes at their respective high schools, they move to the bottom of the pack the moment they step on a college campus. In a sport like wrestling where a combination of strength and technique is so crucial for success, it takes a few years before most athletes are ready to compete against top notch competition. Due to circumstances and ability, however, freshmen Nik Fekete, Kevin Spiess and Chris Williams have found themselves in the starting lineup for Michigan State wrestling.Williams, a 125 pound redshirt freshmen from Fowlerville, Mich., is the elder statesman of the trio. After posting a record of 101 wins and only 2 defeats over his last two seasons at Fowlerville High School, he sat out the 1997-98 season. For Williams, that year away from competition gave him an opportunity to learn some of the intricacies of collegiate wrestling."When I came here last season, I didn't know a lot about how to ride my opponent or get off the bottom," explained Williams. "In high school I wrestled on my feet a lot and was able to take everybody down. During my redshirt year, I was able to work on some things that have already given me some victories this season."For Fekete and Spiess, their first year tells a different story. Fekete, a 184 pound freshman from Cranford, N.J., and Spiess, a 165 pound freshman from Ovid, Mich., both find themselves in the Spartan lineup as true freshmen. Without a redshirt year during which to sit back and take things in, they find themselves being forced to learn on the fly while competing at a much higher level than they have previously experienced."The difference in competition between college and high school is crazy," said Spiess, a 1998 Michigan state champion at 152 pounds. "In high school I beat most people pretty easily, and then to come here where the matches in practice are more intense than state championship matches. Then I go out and wrestle guys ranked in the top 10 in the nation and it's just amazing."Without years of collegiate experience on which to rely, freshmen must put in long hours in the wrestling room and watching tape. Fekete, in fact, is often the last one to leave the practice mats."I've always liked to hang around and be the last one to leave," said Fekete. "I've put in a lot of work with the coaches and I've watched a lot of film. I've learned a lot, but there is still so much for me to learn. The only way I will get better is through hard work and practice." Perhaps the biggest adjustment for freshmen wrestlers is learning how to deal with losing a few matches. The trio lost a combined 36 matches in 11 years of high school action, a number they have already surpassed in their first season of collegiate wrestling. That being said, they are able to keep everything in perspective."Sometimes I feel like this is the worst year of my life," said Williams. "I wasn't used to losing at all, and then to lose a couple of times in the first tournament of the year takes quite an adjustment. But the coaches believe in you so much that they make you believe that you can come back and beat your next opponent. I've been able to beat a couple of guys this year that had defeated me earlier.""I probably hate losing even more than most people," said Fekete. "I just have to learn from my losses and make strides towards my next match. The guys I'm losing to are tough and have a lot of experience. In time, I will have that experience too. The most important thing is for the team to do well and for me to help them out anyway I can.""Nobody likes to lose," explained Spiess. "You know you're good, but sometimes your opponent has four years on you. It just makes you work twice as hard. I try to win every match, but as long as I am improving I won't be discouraged."Not only are first year wrestlers forced to deal with another level of competition, they can struggle with life away from home. For athletes in such a predicament, it is encouraging to know they can find a familial atmosphere among their teammates."The older guys teach me a lot about wrestling and they look out for me when I'm off the mat," said Spiess. "The reason I wanted to come to MSU is because the older guys care about the future of this program."Despite the rough times that can accompany a first year in collegiate wrestling, the Spartan freshmen remain in good spirits. Most importantly, wrestling continues to be fun."I truly believe you can't do well at wrestling or anything else if you don't have fun," said Fekete. "I love to wrestle and that's why I dropped down a weight class this year. Most people could probably use a redshirt year to get stronger and concentrate on technique, but the competitor in me always wants to be out on the mat."Williams even believes that having fun increases his performance."When the team went down to Arizona State earlier this year, we were all very relaxed," said Williams. "I beat a kid ranked sixth in the nation and I believe part of the reason is because I was having fun. Once I stop having fun wrestling, I'll quit. But I don't see that happening for some time."Fekete, Spiess and Williams all compiled an impressive list of accolades in high school. And while their first year wrestling for MSU has provided a few bumps in the road, the lessons they are learning and the support of their coaches and teammates should have this trio causing quite a stir before their Spartan careers are complete.Print Friendly Version var obj = "start":0,"count":10,"name":"story-template-boilerplate","sport_id":null,"count_breakpoints":null,"css_class":"","pinned_id":"","extra":,"context":null,"dummy":false,"type":"ads","id":"37b50d21-0733-41bf-a5b0-f64bb681171e","data":"location":"id":0,"title":null,"type":null,"effect":null,"fixed_image_sizes":false,"excluded_sport_ids":null,"slick":false,"dfp":false,"sidearm_dfp":false,"common_page":false,"html_template":null,"name":null,"autoplay_speed":0,"accessibility_icons":false,"sizes":null,"slick_options":null,"dfp_sizes":null,"campaigns":[],"content_id":null,"content_title":null,"content_date":null,"content_url":null,"content_image_url":null,"mode":"web"; if (!("sidearmComponents" in window)) window.sidearmComponents = []; window.sidearmComponents.push(obj); Related Story Content var obj = "start":0,"count":10,"name":"story-template-general-1-1","sport_id":null,"count_breakpoints":null,"css_class":"","pinned_id":"","extra":,"context":null,"dummy":false,"type":"ads","id":"ffd8bf77-8a47-4abf-8859-6cdba88f2782","data":"location":"id":46,"title":"Story Templates - General 1 - Location 1","type":"dfp","effect":"none","fixed_image_sizes":true,"excluded_sport_ids":[],"slick":false,"dfp":true,"sidearm_dfp":false,"common_page":false,"html_template":null,"name":"story-template-general-1-1","autoplay_speed":8,"accessibility_icons":false,"sizes":null,"slick_options":null,"dfp_sizes":["id":14,"enabled":true,"breakpoint":0,"width":300,"height":250,"size_list":"","unit_name":"/29658103/sidearmextended/adaptive-1","sidearm_dfp":null],"campaigns":null,"content_id":"story-template-general-1-1","content_title":"story-template-general-1-1","content_date":null,"content_url":null,"content_image_url":null,"mode":"web"; if (!("sidearmComponents" in window)) window.sidearmComponents = []; window.sidearmComponents.push(obj); Story Links Related Videos Now Playing: Play Video

A list of 15 semifinalists for the award will be announced in early November, with the three finalists announced in December. The trio will be invited to St. Louis for a news conference and dinner held at the Missouri Athletic Club on Jan. 6, 2006, where the winner of the award will be revealed. The winner is determined through voting of NCAA Division I members of the NSCAA. 041b061a72


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