Senior wrestler Russell Rohlfing has been wrestling for about twelve years now. He was born and raised in La Habra Heights, CA and is the youngest of 6 siblings.
Growing up, Rohlfing was encouraged by his parents to try out all different types of sports, such as baseball, football, kickboxing, and ju-jitsu. It was while playing Pop Warner Football in 6th grade that one of his teammates asked him if he wanted to wrestle. After church on Sundays Rohlfing and his teammate would wrestle in the gymnasium of the church.
“Wrestling is my hobby, I love it. It’s my life right now.”
Rohlfing chose wrestling because he is into the individuality of the sport and that fact that the spotlight is on him and him alone, win or lose. When he wins, it is because he worked for it, and when he loses, it’s on himself and he can’t blame anyone else. He also doesn’t have to depend on anyone except himself.
“It’s like hating to work on a group project because you get stuck with all the work,” Rohlfing said, emphasizing that he likes being in a sport where the outcome depends on him.
The style of Bakersfield wrestling is what brought Rohlfing to CSU Bakersfield. Rohlfing believes that CSUB was a perfect fit for him because of the grittiness and hard work the wrestling program is known for instilling into their athletes.
Even though wrestling is an individual sport, Rohlfing states, “There is absolutely a team aspect to it, and bonding. Just like with any sport you cannot do it on your own.”
He explains that the team aspect comes through during practices, as the wrestlers put each other through hell to better each other and themselves.
“Going through something that difficult creates a special bond with your teammates,” Rohlfing said. “You want your teammates to do well, and you want to do well yourself, so you’re constantly bring each other up, encouraging each other, like brothers.”
Recently, Rohfling earned his 84th career win in wrestling as a ‘Runner. “I’m just really excited for the opportunity to compete one last time for Bakersfield at conference, and hopefully at nationals.”
With the season over and only the PAC 12 championships left on Mar. 7, Rohlfing said, “I’m just going in with the goal of being a PAC 12 champion. My mind set is not to settle for anything else. I’m going in there to win the tournament.”
As a team Rohlfing feels like they are prepared for the PAC 12 championships. “Our coach is giving us everything that we need to prepare to succeed at the tournament. As long as our guys buy in and do everything that is asked of them and go beyond what is asked of them, we will have success.”
Family is a huge support system who Rohlfing says he is lucky to have. According to Rohlfing, his parents have been to the majority of his wrestling meets since high school. Being the youngest of six, he also has the full support of all his siblings.
One of his brothers, Joseph Alvarado, came to his last dual meet for Senior Night and for the dual meet against Northern Colorado. His sister Maureen Stehlik, who lives in Colorado, surprised him by attending.
“I am so grateful to have this support system. It’s really cool and humbling to have this kind of support system behind me,” Rohfing says. He especially looks up to and aspires to be like his dad by going into law, as his father is a lawyer.
Outside of wrestling Rohlfing’s biggest interest is animals. While bottlenose dolphins are his favorite due to their intelligence fascinating him, he does have an interest in snakes as well. When Rohlfing was a boy, his parents gave him a corn snake after he begged them for one because one of his older brothers had a ball python.
Right now, Rohlfing has two red tail boa constrictors over a year old. Being able to hold his pet snakes is a kind of stress reliever for him. “If I wasn’t going into law, I would want to do something with animals,” Rohlfing said.
Since it is Rohlfing’s last season as a ‘Runner, he is getting ready to start the next chapter in his life. He’s currently applying to law schools because he wants to follow in his father’s footsteps.