Much like how Yankee Stadium is nicknamed “The House That Ruth Built” due to his championship influence, The Activity Center should be called “The House That Kjar Built” when the mats are all rolled out.
There is no denying how special senior Ben Kjar is when it comes to the UVU wrestling program and its ever-growing national exposure. Those who support and are involved with the program know and realize how lucky they all were to be a part of Kjar’s wrestling career.
“Ben has been instrumental for our program from day one,” said Coach Greg Williams. “He was a highly recruited athlete out of high school, and typically, a new program [UVU] doesn’t have an athlete like that come here. I think part of the reason he came here is because he liked the challenge to come here and help build up the program.”
Kjar would not only take on the challenge head on, but also exceed expectations and raise the bar for all present and future Wolverine wrestlers.
“He is the one who has brought the standard up here, helping bring in better recruits that have made the team better as a whole, and he is also a great leader to them,” said Williams.
“He’s a huge part of Utah Valley history now, where he will always be the starting point of building this program, and had he not come we would not be close to be where we are now.”
It’s not every day that a coach can express feelings as strong as Williams did about Kjar and put the responsibility in the hands of an individual to be the foundation and starting point for any Division I program.
Now, how does Kjar feel about all this?
“It feels great. In life you don’t get very many opportunities to help build something like this, and I’ve always had the same vision that he [Williams] had,” said Kjar. “It’s something really powerful to see that vision come together with the number of people that have come here and share our vision, and that has been what has made the vision a reality.”
The reality of it all is a perfect undefeated record at home – not only at UVU, but also all through high school and his entire wrestling career.
“I love performing in front of a home crowd; there’s nothing better than that,” said Kjar. “For me, I feel like it’s a way to give back to those who support you, and it means so much more if I can go out and give them a good show.”
Wrestling is a demanding sport where athletes spend hours upon hours working out and conditioning everyday. Walk into a practice and it won’t take long to see the hard work and physical dedication these athletes have to endure to compete. But Kjar takes working out to a whole new level.
“We workout, workout and workout physically, but how often does someone workout mentally?” said Kjar. “With a lot of time and effort comes success.”
Mental workouts are an everyday routine where Kjar has his goals written and posted all over the house and are focused on constantly. His wife and he will also use positive communication at home where they speak in a future tense talking about everything he has accomplished. His wife always tells Kjar that she is “a loving and supporting wife of a National Champion wrestler.”
All-American and National Champion are goals Kjar has set for himself, and thus far this season, he’s right on track to reach them.
“The more I put that in front of me, the more it helps me focus. The goal not written down is only a dream,” said Kjar.