The Wolverine

January 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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JANUARY 2017 THE WOLVERINE 17   INSIDE MICHIGAN ATHLETICS Though Cory Lester may not be close to his home state while wrestling at Michigan, Ann Arbor has always felt like a second home to the fifth-year senior from St. Louis. Lester's father, Ken, wrestled at Michigan from 1983-85 with cur- rent Michigan head coach Joe McFarland, and he felt comfortable as a Wolverine from the start. "When it came time to actually make my college choice, I took official visits and definitely considered some other schools," Lester said. "But I think in the back of my head I always knew I wanted to come here. When I took my official visit here and had known so many of the coaches and so many of the guys, I just definitely couldn't turn down the opportunity." In high school, Lester fin- ished among the top three in Missouri each of his four years, with a state title at 112 pounds as a sophomore. Lester fin- ished with a 196-9 prep record and also lettered four times in baseball. "I had a lot of success in high school. It's a whole different ball game for sure in college," Lester said. "Pretty much ev- erybody that's here had a lot of success in high school, so I think the transition for me has really been learning more technique and learning more about the sport. "I think a lot of my success in high school was due the fact that I was athletic and I was fast and strong, and I was able to get away with a lot of things you can't get away with at this level. So definitely coming in my freshman year, that was a huge step up for me, and I had to kind of get used to higher levels of competition." Wrestling at 125 pounds for Michigan, Lester is 15-28 through his first four years, but he has really stood out in the classroom. Lester earned a bachelor's degree in sports management in the spring of 2016 and is currently pursuing a master's degree in management in the Ross School of Business at Michigan. Lester has earned Academic All-Big Ten honors the past two seasons and was a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar last year as well as the winner of a U-M Athletic Achievement award. "I would say as much time as I dedicate to wrestling, I dedicate more time to school than anything else," Lester said. "Just like wrestling was, school was a learning process, too. Being away from home and having to dedicate so many hours to wrestling and then go back to studying after you're exhausted, it took some time to get used to." Lester began school thinking he wanted to stay in a sports career path, but after becoming interested in the background of business, he hopes to become a business strategist at a design consulting firm. "As it's gotten closer for me to start looking for jobs, those are the kinds of things I'm passionate about," Lester said. "So those are the industries I'm looking at." — Leland Mitchinson Student Athlete Of The Month Fifth-Year Senior Cory Lester Lester's father wrestled at Michigan, with current head coach Joe McFarland, and he has continued the family's legacy with the Wolverines. PHOTO BY SAM JANICKI Sports he played besides basket- ball: "I played soccer and football. I loved soccer." Hobbies: "I go hang out with friends. I hang out with guys on the team and guys not on the team as well — actually the athletic direc- tor 's son, Evan. My friend Kendall, too. They are pretty cool guys. I have some friends on the baseball team as well." Favorite TV show: "Right off the top, I'd have to say 'SpongeBob [SquarePants]' and 'Martin.'" Favorite movie: "Man, that's a tough one. There are so many. I'll just say, because I've been watching it like every night, 'Bad Boys II.'" Dream vacation: "I'm not really a big 'go somewhere' type of person, but I'd probably say the Bahamas just from what I've seen and heard about it." Favorite sports venue he's been to: "Madison Square Garden." Favorite professional athlete: "Ty- ler Ulis [rookie point guard for the Phoenix Suns], definitely." Why he chose basketball over other sports: "With football I didn't really put in the extra work. If you want to be really successful, you have to put in more than anyone else and I didn't really do that. I was pretty good, but I didn't have the motiva- tion for it. I played running back and cornerback. I don't think I'm built enough for that. I liked soccer a lot, but I may have been too rough or too physical for it I guess." Life after Michigan if not basket- ball: "I think I would do something in the business field. I'd like to have my own business helping kids back from where I'm from in Lima, Ohio. I want to give kids a chance to have more opportunities." His overall U-M experience: "It's been great. I'm surrounded by a great group of guys on the basketball team. I'm learning a ton from them on the court and just with school and everything. They are an amaz- ing group of guys. I see guys like Derrick and Zak [Irvin], who may be our two best players, but they are also our two best listeners. I've tried to take that and apply it to what I do with basketball and everything. They are really glued in and that's really helping me. They've shown me that the small details really matter." — Brandon Brown

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