A Shot at Redemption: Ithaca’s Doliscar Seeks National Title
By Betsy Veysman
According to Vougar Oroudjov, Jules Doliscar was just too nice.
The Holy Trinity High School graduate went 0-2 in his only New York State tournament appearance as a senior and came to Nassau Community College to continue his wrestling career. Before suiting up for the Lions, Doliscar took a redshirt year during which he spent time training with Oroudjov, the two-time freestyle World Champion and Olympic bronze medalist, at his club in Syosset.
“Jules had some skills but truthfully wasn’t that good at first,” Oroudjov said. “In high school he didn’t see that many tough kids and he wasn’t mean on the mat. He didn’t want to hurt anyone; he didn’t want to do things like crossface. I had to make him more aggressive with his technique. I told him ‘pretend they’re hurting your family.’ But he’s such a nice kid, always smiling, always laughing. It was hard for him.”
What Doliscar did already have, according to Orodujov, was a commitment to hard work and a desire to succeed in the sport.
“He told me he wanted to win and he showed it,” Orodujov said. “We held practices at 6 a.m. and only one kid showed up. It was Jules. He never missed any practice at any time.”
“Out of high school, I really wasn’t what you would call a great wrestler,” Doliscar added. “But Coach [Paul] Schmidt believed in me at Nassau. Vougar believed in me. Working out with him sharpened my technique, gave me great competition and most important, taught me to really believe in myself.”
The efforts Doliscar put in over that first year out of high school were apparent on the mat. He stepped into the lineup for the 2009-10 campaign for Nassau and proved that he could compete at the next level, placing fifth in the NJCAA championships while hampered by a hamstring injury.
The Dix Hills native came into his second season at Nassau as the top ranked 174-pounder in the country, expecting to take home a national title.
“I wound up putting way too much pressure on myself,” he said. “At the [NJCAAs], I lost in the semis to the eventual champ and gave up on myself.” He placed sixth in what he called a “debacle” and took some time to reevaluate his future.
“I was so crushed at the results,” he said. “I considered not wrestling anymore. But I realized that I could feel sorry for myself or I could do something about it. I remembered how badly I wanted to wrestle after high school and I didn’t have a shot at it then. How could I give up when I was so close and had so many opportunities?”
One of those opportunities was with Division III power Ithaca College.
“Jules had all the things that we look for in a recruit,” said Bomber head coach Marty Nichols. “His coaches talked about his commitment, his coachability, his hard work. Everyone said what a great person he was to be around. It didn’t matter to us whether he won [at NJCAAs] or didn’t place, things happen. We knew who he was and how good he could be as a wrestler and we knew he was still hungry.”
In addition to the wrestling program in upstate New York, Doliscar was attracted to the academic program in occupational therapy.
“I came to Ithaca College to get my college degree and win two national titles,” Doliscar said. “I think I’m on track to do those things.”
Doliscar, who his current coach calls both “entertaining” and “a born leader” proved that he was a Division III title threat at the National Duals in January. He went undefeated during Ithaca’s run to fourth place, beating former national champion Mike Schmitz of UW-La Crosse to take over the #1 ranking in the country at 174, which he has kept ever since.
For the season, he has compiled a 33-2 record, with his only losses to Division I wrestlers. He has recorded 19 falls, tied for the most in a season in the Bomber record books.
“He’s really good at taking guys from feet to back,” Nichols said of Doliscar’s prolific pinning this season. “He’s been getting guys out of position and capitalizing.”
Doliscar picked up two falls during the Empire Collegiate Wrestling Conference championships on February 25 on his way to the title and an automatic bid to NCAAs beginning March 9. He is the top seed at his weight.
“I know I should have won titles at Nassau, but I didn’t,” he said. “I know what I’m capable of and I’m going to take what I deserve this year.”
Part of that confidence comes from the smooth transition he has made to Division III.
“Vougar taught me so much about the mental part of wrestling and believing in myself and it has continued here,” Doliscar said. “I’ve learned to stay calm and relax and just be who I am on the mat. Being on campus makes things so much easier. I’m on the meal plan so eating right isn’t a problem. Getting my workouts is easy since everything is so close. I have my weight under control. I feel ready. I feel like seven minutes is a long time to be wrestling me.”
“We’re expecting him to win this weekend,” the coach said. “He needs to go out and earn it and the intensity level is up at the national tournament. But we know what he’s capable of and he is very tuned in to what he needs to do.”
Oroudjov is eagerly awaiting Doliscar’s results in La Crosse, Wisconsin on March 10th as well. He said he may have felt worse than Doliscar after last year’s postseason ending.
“I was really upset because I thought he was the best wrestler,” he said. “Some kids party and get distracted with things but Jules lived wrestling, kept his mind on wrestling and came up short.”
Back in 2008, Oroudjov may not have believed Doliscar would make it at the college level, but he’s a believer now.
“You don’t have to be the greatest in high school to have success in college,” Doliscar said. “So much of wrestling is mental and so much is about sacrifice. You can be hanging out with your friends or you could be working towards your goals. You have decide if you want to be great.”
Oroudjov couldn’t agree more, and he sees a great future ahead.
“Wrestling is a few years, then there’s the rest of your life,” he said. “I consider Jules a part of my family. My wife likes him, my kids like him. He’s an honest kid with a great personality. He gives back. I consider him a winner and in my years of coaching, I can say that about only a few guys. He will be successful in whatever he does, I am 100% sure of that.”