|Paul Selman (right) leads Minnesota State with 23 wins|
Being a student-athlete is one busy lifestyle. You go to school as a full-time student, you practice for your respective sport every day, you’re on the road constantly for competition, and you try and balance a social life on top of all of that. Now take that into perspective, and imagine if you did not just one, but two sports as a student-athlete.
It’s a rare feat that not many people have done historically, especially in modern times. Dave Winfield, Jackie Robinson, Jim Brown, Deion Sanders, Bo Jackson and Jim Thorpe are just a few notable athletes to have participated in multiple sports at a high level.
There have been several athletes at Minnesota State that have played more than one sport including the likes of Chris Reed (football, track), Keyvan Rudd (football, track), Nathan Hancock (football, track), Sidni Trotter (soccer, women’s basketball), Jenna Peterson (hockey, softball), Kelvin Rodgers (football, track,), Ben King (football, baseball), Michael Lawrence (football, track), Donnell Bowyer (football, baseball), Jared Ziemke (football, basketball), Ryan Dutton (football, baseball), Lester Mitchell (basketball, track), Tywan Mitchell (football, basketball), Monte Dufault (basketball, baseball), Nancy Kelly (volleyball, softball), Luonna Van Meveran (volleyball, track), Mike Yonkey (football, track), Joel Nielsen (football, baseball), Mike Carroll (hockey, baseball) and Gene Glynn (basketball, baseball).
It's possible that from the list above, you might notice that there aren’t any track and wrestling combos. Until now.
“It’s been roughly 20 years since we have had a multi-sport athlete of any kind on our team," said Jim Makovsky, who’s in his 23rd season in charge of the Minnesota State wrestling program. “It’s rare enough that you see a multi-sport athlete in football and track, let alone wrestling and track,”
The wrestling and track student-athlete Makovsky is referencing one of his current team members in Paul Selman.
A native of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, Selman attended Glenbard West High School, where he exceled in not one, not two, but three sports - soccer, wrestling, and track. After graduating, he enrolled in nearby Millikin University in Decatur, Ill., where he was a member of the soccer and track programs at the NCAA Division III level. Selman had a tremendous freshman season, attaining indoor and outdoor track and field all-conference honors in the 100-meter dash while qualifying and competing at the 2015 NCAA DIII national outdoor track and field championships.
While participating in soccer and track, Selman missed participating in his third sport from high school, wrestling. It was at that time that he met two of the coaches from the Minnesota State wrestling team in Makovsky and assistant coach Marc Harwood, who helped him get back into the sport he loved and missed so much. Agreeing to transfer to Minnesota State to participate in track, Selman would then switch his second sport from soccer to wrestling.
He currently leads Minnesota State in his freshman year with the Mavericks with 23 wins, while holding a 23-9 record overall while wrestling at 133 for the 14-rated Mavericks.
“Paul is learning a lot this year since coming back to wrestling. He’s a great athlete, a hard worker, and he’s gone on to have a steady season,” said Makovsky.
While competing at the college level in sports that run concurrently poses challenges, Selman feels that in his instance, track and wrestling complement each other fairly well, albeit with some adjustments.
“In wrestling, you run a lot, so it helps keeps me in shape going into track in the spring, and the same goes with track complementing wrestling. I had to get out of any procrastination habits I had and get all of my homework done ahead of time. Time management has been key for me, and I couldn’t do it without the support from my teammates and coaches”, Selman explains.”
He also said that due to the timing of practices and competition, his primary focus during the winter will be limited to wrestling, but would plan on competing in the outdoor track season.
In the meantime, there's the matter at hand with the conclusion of the wrestling season drawing near with regional and, hopefully, national tournament competition slated. The Minnesota State men's outdoor track and field season begins near the end of March. It's likely Mr. Selman has that date written down on his busy schedule.
contributed by Cameron Klade, Minnesota State Athletic Communications Intern