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Hosteen Smith

Hosteen Smith Set to Wrestle at Kansas Community College

Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community member Hosteen Smith is taking his wrestling talents to Kansas to compete at the college level.

Smith, 24, a 2011 Salt River High School graduate, will wrestle for Cloud County Community College in Concordia, starting this month.

Smith will be part of a developing wrestling program that is in its first year under Mesa, Arizona, native Chris Freije.

The itch to wrestle at the next level never left Smith after high school. He worked and continued to train, mostly to compete in the Lori Piestewa National Native American Games, where he has taken multiple first-place medals over the years. More recently, he’s turned his competitive wrestling itch to coaching. He coached junior high wrestling at Salt River Schools and at the local Ba’ag Wrestling Club, where he’s vice-president. His club team recently placed third in the Piestewa Games. Smith also was an assistant coach for the high school football team last fall.

Now, it’s his turn to get back on the wrestling mat.

Hosteen Smith (center) watches a wrestling match in December..
Earlier this year, a mutual friend, Andy Jay, connected Smith and Freije, and a door to college wrestling was opened.

Jay has been training Smith five days a week since the end of March to help him get ready for Cloud County CC competition. “Special thanks to Andy Jay for sacrificing time, energy and even your body to make sure I was ready,” Smith said. “He beat me down, but right after [he] built me right back up and really gave me that mental strength.”

Smith weighed 200 pounds in early August and has to drop to 189 to compete, a challenge Smith knows he’ll have little trouble with, especially since he’s dropped around 30 pounds since April.

“I’m excited to go wrestling,” he said. “I know I’m in good-enough shape to know that it’s not going to kill me, but it’s going to push me to get further.”

Hosteen Smith (right) during Salt River High School football practice last August. Smith was an assistant coach.
When not training or competing, Smith plans to study athletic training and hopes one day to return to Salt River High School and help start an athletic-training class for students to learn how to work directly with athletes during events.

Working with Native youth is one of Smith’s passions, and he believes by showing youth that he can compete at the college level, they can, too.

“I like helping the kids,” he said. “If they can see someone who’s gone and taken a chance to go to college, maybe they can follow suit. Maybe I can be a catalyst.”