BY TRISTAN SASSE
PHOTO COURTESY OF FHSU ATHLETICS
Redshirt freshman Efe Osaghae, a multi-sport athlete at Fort Hays State University, became a force to be reckoned with this past season as a member of the Tiger wrestling team. Although Osaghae made his presence known on the wrestling mat, he is also a member of the FHSU soccer team. While finding time for both sports seems difficult, Osaghae defies all odds.
Before arriving at FHSU, Osaghae developed his athletic ability in Florissant, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, at McCluer North High School. Growing up in the city gave Osaghae the desire to compete at a high level.
“I had incredible high school coaches that helped make me the athlete I am today,” said Osaghae. “Without those guys, I don’t know where I’d be today.”
At McCluer North, Efe’s ability was felt on the field and the mat. In soccer, Osaghae was an all-region selection in 2014 and 2015 for Class 4. Additionally, he excelled in wrestling during his junior and senior seasons of high school.
As a junior, Osaghae placed fourth at state and went 37-6 overall. Efe followed it up by going 36-4 as a senior and finished his high school career with an overall record of 112-24.
Soon after, Osaghae saw a reason to come to FHSU to continue his career in athletics.
“I liked the coaches and our wrestling team had a graduate assistant at the time that was on the same wrestling club as me,” said Osaghae.
Osaghae then decided to head to FHSU and redshirt during his first season of eligibility. After a full season of athletics, redshirting was the right move for Osaghae.
“Redshirting taught me how to manage my time better,” said Osaghae. “I got more mature and smarter. My grades improved.”
Fort Hays State University Head Wrestling Coach Chas Thompson was impressed by the improvement of his standout freshman.
“Literally in all aspects you want someone to make growth in, he has. Socially, as a wrestler, and even academically,” said Thompson.
The move allowed Osaghae to not only perform at a higher level in school but to compete with his teammates at an increased level as well.
Efe’s season began as a forward with the FHSU men’s soccer team. Osaghae saw short stints of action off the bench in the three matches he participated in. The Tigers won all three games he played, but he only logged 30 minutes on the field during the season.
During the wrestling season, Osaghae’s significance became much more prevalent.
Ranked as high as the No. 4 wrestler in the nation at the 149-pound weight class, Osaghae made a major impact in his first full season with the Tigers’ wrestling squad. The St. Louis native finished the season with a 31-14 record.
Senior wrestler and national qualifier Rakim Dean noticed the high level of talent Osaghae displayed. “Efe was more like a little brother to me,” said Dean. “I could tell he fed off my energy so I tried to be a good role model and leader for him because I saw his potential was out of this world.”
In addition to a successful season, Osaghae placed eighth at the NCAA Division II Championships, was named an All-American, and defeated the No. 1 nationally ranked wrestler in the 149-pound weight class three different times.
“It was a great honor to be a national qualifier and an All-American, and it felt great but I’m over it,” said Osaghae. “I’m looking forward to next year. I have bigger goals this time around.”
Although playing multiple sports can be hectic at times, Osaghae’s supporting cast makes it worthwhile. Coach Thompson is pleased with Osaghae’s impact but realizes the sky is the limit.
“I’m very happy with the way Efe carries himself and the effort he puts forth,” said Thompson. “I do want him to challenge himself and keep raising that bar of the goals he wants to set and obtain. The kid’s a beast, it’s undeniable.”
Dean also enjoyed having Efe on the team and believed Osaghae made the wrestlers a closer group.
“Efe brought a killer work ethic. He was very hardworking and pushed everyone in the room,” said Dean. “He also brought joy and laughter to the team because of his awesome personality.”
Even though Efe had a major impact on the wrestling team, as the 2018-19 season pulls closer, Osaghae plans to continue to play both sports.
“I plan on playing both sports next year because I enjoy both,” said Osaghae. When asked what his favorite sport was, Efe laughed and responded: “I prefer not to say.”