Sven Alm - words to live by.
Sven Alm just returned from a trip to Mecca – that is to say the small “m” mecca of the wrestling world. The FHC senior spent almost two weeks at an “intensive training camp” at the University of Iowa with three of his teammates. For those of you who don’t know from wrestling, the Iowa Hawkeyes dominate the sport with 22 national championships since 1975 – Ranger coach Brad Anderson likened his guys training there to high school baseball players getting to train with the New York Yankees.
For Alm to spend some of his summer vacation at a camp that starts every morning with an hour long run followed by a couple hours of technique training, then weight lifting, more technique training and then “live combat” is no surprise at all to anyone who knows him. To say that Sven is focused on his sport is to put things very mildly and he enjoys a challenge.
“I like to look for the toughest thing to do,” Sven said. “If it is tough and challenging, I want to do it.”
Sven and his older brother Charlie both got involved with the Forest Hills Wrestling Club at a young age. Sven was five and Charlie seven when their parents, Charlie and Marilee, noticed an ad for the Club and signed their two oldest children up. Dad had to encourage the boys to stick it out the first season, but since that time wrestling has become a way of life for all of the Alm brothers; including sixteen year old Nicholas, fourteen year old Magnus, and nine year old Donald. (The Alms have two daughters as well; Madalyn, 12, and five year old Hannah.)
Forest Hills Central wrestling coach Brad Anderson has been involved in the sport for many years and is a former State Champion, so when he labeled Sven as “the hardest working wrestler” we paid attention. Sven told us how he set the goal to run five miles every day during the summer after eighth grade and he did so for two years straight with the exception of maybe 10 days when he was away from home. Alm has been recognized with the Rangers “Mr. Hustle” award three years in a row and was the team MVP for the last two years. Sven finished in seventh place in Michigan as an All State wrestler at 145 pounds with a 47-6 record. It is noteworthy that his weight class is full of talent and probably ranks as one of the top five toughest classes in the state. He can bench press 225 pounds and is proud of his ability to do 42 pull ups in a row.
Sven is one of 25 or 30 Ranger wrestlers who have over 100 varsity wins. He is on track to finish his FHC career with one of the top five records in the school’s history; possibly as high as number two on the list. On the night we spoke to his coach, Sven was out in Lowell wrestling a guy who is two weight classes heavier.
“His work ethic is second to none,” coach Anderson related. “He practically turns the lights out behind me when I leave the wrestle room at the end of the day.”
Alm puts his work ethic front and center in every aspect of his life. He can be found washing dishes every week at The Gathering Place and he saves his money in order to pay his own way to Iowa and for other expenses related to wrestling. His father recently got Sven and Charlie jobs working with concrete on the Medical Mile (Michigan Avenue) for Christman. On the day we spoke to Sven he had just returned home from wrestling practice at 8:30 pm after putting in a full day working concrete.
Sven was home schooled until middle school, as are all the Alm children, and he learned how to apply himself to schoolwork. He has overcome some learning difficulties and earned a 3.2 GPA and scored a 26 on his ACTs. His academic efforts will no doubt help in his quest to wrestle for the Chippewas at CMU. Several smaller colleges have already expressed interest in having Sven attend their schools and wrestle for them, but he has his heart set on CMU.
“He loves the sport and he loves life,” Charlie Alm said. “Sven is committed to God as well.”
Sven may be focused and dedicated to his sport, but even more importantly he has learned lessons that apply to life off the wrestling mat. His father believes wrestling is a great sport for developing young men because they have to learn to balance their strength with self-control.
“Wrestling teaches you hard work and commitment,” Sven told us. “You might not always get what you want, but if you put all you have into it then you can’t be disappointed with what you get.”
Well spoken words to live by for wrestlers and non-wrestlers from Sven Alm.