Oklahoma State Student-Athlete Spotlight: Dallas Bailey
Courtesy: Big12Sports.com
          Release: 12/28/2010
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By Jordie Lindley
Big 12 Campus Correspondent

For some high school athletes, choosing a college can be a difficult decision, but for redshirt freshman 165-pound wrestler Dallas Bailey, Oklahoma State was a "no brainer."

"Growing up wrestling in Oklahoma, everyone dreams of wrestling for OSU," Bailey said.

Bailey was also recruited by Nebraska and Penn State. After going on a recruiting visit to Penn State, Bailey wavered on his decision momentarily, but then realized where his heart was.

"OSU's wrestling tradition is hard to argue with," Bailey said. "I liked the fact that it was a hundred miles from home and that my friends and family could come watch me.  The coaches were some of the best wrestlers of all time and idols of mine.  They were very clear on their goals for me as a student and an athlete, and I felt that Oklahoma State was a place that I could develop and succeed better than anywhere else."

The great tradition at OSU wasn't the only thing swaying Bailey towards the Cowboys. Bailey's father, Leo Bailey, was a two-time All-American for OSU in 1983 and 1986.

"Some part of me wanted to follow in my dad's footsteps and represent OSU in the orange and black," Bailey said.

For some high school athletes, choosing a college can be a difficult decision. For redshirt freshman Dallas Bailey, attending Oklahoma State was a "no brainer."

"Growing up wrestling in Oklahoma, everyone dreams of wrestling for OSU," said Bailey, who competes in the 165-pound class.

Bailey was also recruited by Nebraska and Penn State. After going on a recruiting visit to Penn State, Bailey wavered on his decision momentarily, but then realized where his heart was.

"OSU's wrestling tradition is hard to argue with," Bailey said. "I liked the fact that it was a hundred miles from home and that my friends and family could come watch me. The coaches were some of the best wrestlers of all time and idols of mine. 

"They were very clear on their goals for me as a student and an athlete, and I felt that Oklahoma State was a place that I could develop and succeed better than anywhere else."

The great tradition at OSU wasn't the only thing swaying Bailey towards the Cowboys. Bailey's father, Leo Bailey, was a two-time All-American for OSU in 1983 and 1986.

"Some part of me wanted to follow in my dad's footsteps and represent OSU in the orange and black," Bailey said.

Bailey started wrestling at a young age, and with his dad being a successful wrestler in college, he knew that the training would be challenging.
 
"I started competing when I was five," Bailey said. "I lost my first pair of wrestling shoes that year and my dad made me finish the season wearing my tennis shoes."

Bailey had an impressive career in high school finishing with a 130-5 record at Catoosa High School in Catoosa, Okla. Although there are many similarities between high school and college wrestling, Bailey entered a new world when he reported to OSU in 2009.

"College wrestling seems a lot more like a job," Bailey said. "The workouts are more difficult.  It's important to stay positive and passionate to continue to develop. The biggest difference is the school-work. Class wasn't something I really had to worry about in high school, but going pre-med requires more time and energy. I really have to stay focused to excel in both."

After reporting for training in 2009, Bailey was redshirted along with other members of his class. Along with some injury problems, Bailey had trouble adjusting to his new role.

"It was hard," Bailey said. "I knew that I would likely redshirt but it was still an important year for adjusting to the college level. Coach knew what he was doing in leaving us freshmen in redshirt. It was hard to stay motivated knowing that I wasn't starting. The work I was putting in didn't feel like it was paying off.  I had to keep telling myself that I was investing into the next year."

This year, Bailey has proven himself as the starter for the 165-pound weight division with an 11-1 record and No. 14 ranking nationally. Even though he is just in his first year of collegiate competition, Bailey is setting his goals high.

"I want to win the national tournament," Bailey said. "It's easy to say, 'I have three more years left to win,' but I feel that kind of attitude invites complacency and bad habits that I'd rather avoid. I want to win it this year."

Bailey's goal this year is to win the tournament, but he also knows that he has already achieved a lot with starting this year.

"It's an honor to represent Oklahoma State as a starter, and being a starter makes the workouts much more gratifying and worth-while," Bailey said. "It gives me a new passion for getting better. Winning in that orange singlet in front of die-hard Cowboy wrestling fans is unexplainable."

Not only does Bailey hold high hopes for his own goals, but the team has made goals for the season as well.

"We're out for a team title," Bailey said. "We are a young team but a talented team, and we hold one another accountable. We all want that team title, this year, and in years to come."

Even though the team's outcome is based off of individual performance, Bailey says that the team is like a family and works towards a common goal.

"It's kind of like what Coach (John) Smith says, I do my part for the team by doing my absolute best individually," Bailey said. "But being in the same room everyday and training together definitely helps build team unity. I see my teammates killing themselves everyday for the team and we develop a true respect for one another. Everyone wants to do their part."

Bailey has only been a part of OSU's wrestling team since 2009, but he already feels accomplished for being part of the tradition.

"My favorite part about wrestling at OSU is the feeling of accomplishment," Bailey said. "Each and every day we are getting something accomplished. Over time, it will pay off.

"I also love the brotherhood that I've built with my teammates and, ultimately, being able to say that I was a part of something great like OSU's wrestling program."

 

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