There are a lot of reasons to keep an eye out for Waylon DeCoteau (Crow/Sioux/Chippewa) who is currently wrestling at First Nations University / University of Regina in Canada. Selected by the university due to his success as a high school state wrestling champion, DeCoteau has earned his keep at his school, having recently won a national silver medal in Canada at the Canadian University National Championships.
Waylon DeCoteau hasn’t stopped there, as this champion who hails from the Turtle Mountain Community High School in Belcourt, North Dakota is also on the Dean’s List in his pre-medicine program.
And if his silver medal and Dean's List status still wasn’t enough, he was also awarded ‘Most Valuable Player’ on his university wrestling team, which he received earlier this month.
In February of 2017, Waylon DeCoteau of the Regina Cougars battled it out with 3-time gold medalist Canadian national champion Finn Higgins with the University of Winnipeg Wesmen. Though DeCoteau did not win the match, Higgins called DeCoteau the best he had ever encountered.
"I was like, 'Whoa, this guy's better than anyone I've wrestled before” said Higgins to the Winnipeg Free Press.
For this wrestling national contender and future doctor, who already can count such personal achievements as a 2015 state wrestling championship, service as his senior high school president, multi-scholarship recipient and multiple times as student of the month, many might ask how he is able to find the time for studies and athletics.
It is all a matter of prioritizing, says Waylon DeCoteau.
“I never really understood what people meant when they would say, ‘There just isn't enough time in the day,’” said Waylon to ICMN in an email. “Scheduling around family, friends, class, homework, gym, wrestling, eating, sleeping, can be quite frustrating, but when you really want something… you make time.”
“My first priority is my schooling,” he wrote.
Waylon DeCoteau’s father Jerome, who was his son’s wrestling coach in high school when he won his high school state championship, says he couldn’t be more proud of how his son serves as a great role model, wrestler and student.
“I am very proud of Waylon's accomplishments in the classroom and wrestling,” wrote Jerome DeCoteau to ICMN. “He a great student and wrestler, and he is really developing at the University of Regina. He is a Pre-Medicine major, following in his mother’s footsteps, as she is a Nurse Family Practitioner for the Indian Health Service in Belcourt, ND.”
As his aspirations toward wrestling and pre-med continue to unfold, DeCoteau says he will wait to see what the future holds.
“I have 3 years left of wrestling, and will see how much I improve.”
“I'm hoping to get into Med-school, have fun, return home and begin working for IHS.”
Follow Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) - ICMN’s Arts and Entertainment, Pow Wows and Sports Editor - Follow @VinceSchilling