Kaleb Loht will conclude his stellar Messiah wrestling career at this weekend's National Championships, as he aims to win a second straight title in the 141-lb. weight class.

Kaleb Loht will conclude his stellar Messiah wrestling career at this weekend’s National Championships, as he aims to win a second straight title in the 141-lb. weight class.

Jake English
Student Writer

What is the secret behind returning National Champion Kaleb Loht’s success on the mat?

Shucking and wrangling pigs back home on the Loht Farm.

Loht, the returning National Champion in the 141-lb. weight class, is the lone senior from Messiah wrestling’s four national qualifiers. He will be looking to take home a second-straight National Championship to conclude his college career this weekend at the Giant Center in Hershey.

Kaleb Loht was born and raised in McClure, Pa. and began wrestling when he was just five years old–keeping with a common trend of successful wrestlers starting early. When he wasn’t wrestling in his early years, Loht was helping his family run the farm that they own. He attended Indian Valley High School and placed sixth in the Pennsylvania State Tournament his senior year in high school.

Messiah became Loht’s number one choice for more than just wrestling. The fact that Messiah offered a major in both health and physical education was very important.

“Child obesity is a concern of mine, and the well-being of individuals in America” says Loht. He also explains that he loves the Christian atmosphere of the school.

However, his favorite part of Messiah is the wrestling team as a whole.

When he won Nationals last year, Loht did not point to himself: he pointed to God and to his teammates.

“The team is a big part of my success,” Loht states. “I feel like with the team behind me I can go out a wrestle a lot better knowing they got my back.” He believes the team owns his National title from last year just as much as he does.

Besides shucking pigs, Kaleb has a pre-competition ritual which helps him to be confident on the mat. Loht practices good self-talk by thinking of positive affirmations before the match.

“I tell myself things like, ‘My confidence comes from the Lord’, ‘My identity is secure in Christ’, ‘I got my team behind me,’” he explains

Loht, who is 38-0 and ranked No. 1 in the nation in the 141-lb. class, shares his team’s excitement that the National Championships are being held in Hershey. Like fellow wrestler Josh Thomson, Loht feels like he has unfinished business at the Giant Center.

“I didn’t do as well as I hoped when I was in high school,” he says. “I never won a State Title in the Giant Center, but I’m going to give it my all to win a National title there.”

Winning another National Championship would make Loht the only two-time Champion in Messiah wrestling history. He is also two wins shy of tying Andy Vogel for the most wins in program history with 157.

Messiah’s national wrestling qualifiers have encouraged fans to come support them this weekend. They will be in action at the NCAA National Championships this Friday and Saturday at the Giant Center in Hershey. The first session begins at 11:00 a.m. on Friday.

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