North Idaho at the 2021 NJCAA National Championships (Photo courtesy of NJCAA.org)
Beyond the views of Coeur d'Alene, North Idaho is home to a tradition and expectation of keeping the 14-Time National Champion, North Idaho College Cardinal Wrestling program on the map.
"People care about North Idaho College wrestling," Head Coach Mike Sebaaly said. "It's the team that everyone is gunning for."
Noting the poster sized-photos of the national championship teams in the North Idaho College gymnasium, Sebaaly looks to add to the already established team history and measure up to expectations.
Sebaaly enters his third season with the Cardinals this year, coming off of the 2021 season where the team claimed five All-American spots, one of which was national champion, Sal Silva, at 149-pounds.
With intent to add to the 249 All-Americans that have competed in a NIC singlet, Sebaaly announced on July 23rd the addition of former NJCAA and Division II Wrestler Chase Clasen to the Cardinal wrestling staff.
Clasen, coming off of a graduate assistant position with the Chadron State Wrestling Program, stresses the importance of building a relationship with his athletes.
"It starts in the recruiting process. They've got to trust you right away," Clasen said. "If you're recruiting them and you're putting up a front, I think the [wrestlers] can sniff right through that."
Coeur d'Alene is easily adapted to by virtually any lifestyle, which is a focus for the Cardinals recruiting process. The just over two-mile-long Tubbs Hill trail and the lake that campus sits on are highlights to both recruiting trips, and the unique training process for the Cardinal athletes.
The relationships that the athletes make both with the NIC coaching staff and Coeur d'Alene are not limited to the time they are a Cardinal, and allow for continued success in the Cardinal wrestling program.
"There are so many people who want to keep sending kids to North Idaho College," Sebaaly said. "There is so much pride that the alumni have in this place."
The tradition of success for North Idaho College is not only a desire for the athletes, but a standard for the coaches, a standard that both Sebaaly and Clasen intend to take part in continuing.