Story first appeared on edinboronow.com and in the Edinboro University Spectator on Sept. 10, 2015.
Two-time NCAA All-American Dave Habat wrestled his last match as a Fighting Scot in the NCAA Division I Wrestling National Championships in March with the national title on the line.
However, that won’t be the last match of Habat’s career. The Cleveland, Ohio native will continue his wrestling career this week as Habat is representing Slovenia in the 2015 World Championships. The championships started on Sept. 7 and run through Sept. 12 at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. Habat will compete at 65kg in the freestyle competition.
“I want to continue my wrestling career and I am a world class athlete,” Habat said. “My goals are now to be a world champion and Olympic champion and I will attain both of those. I’m wrestling because I love it. I have a deep passion for it.”
Habat’s passion for the sport runs deep, but maybe not as deep as his heritage, as the 2015 Edinboro graduate has a dual-citizenship with Slovenia, allowing him to wrestle for them. “It came to me my senior year when I knew I wanted to compete internationally and I knew it was the best route for me,” Habat said of wrestling for Slovenia and not the U.S. “It gets me a lot of world exposure and takes pressure off of making the USA team. After the season I just renewed my passport and got in touch with the federation of Slovenia and told them I want to compete and represent them. I told them my accomplishments and they were excited.”
His accomplishments include being a two-time All-American, tallying 134 wins at Edinboro and being a four-time national qualifier. He just finished up a tremendous redshirt-senior season with Edinboro wrestling, going 38-3 and earning the national runner-up spot at 149 lbs. as he lost to Missouri’s Drake Houdashelt in overtime in the national championship match.
The 2015 World Championships are just a stepping stone on the path to world and Olympic championships, but it may be the most important one as it is the first qualifying event for next year’s Olympic games and it also qualifies the largest number of athletes for the Olympics.
The former Fighting Scot has been putting in all the preparation, but the competition is here and he has a simple plan.
“Once competition starts I’m going to just remember my training and remember I put in all the work for this,” he said. “So I once I am out there I’m going to let the smart and hard work do its job. My mindset is, no one is getting to my legs, when they do I am scoring, but more importantly, I am going to score first, set the tone early, threaten my opponent and keep that pace until my hand is raised.”