GREAT FALLS — When Dajan Treder came to the University of Providence, she was already an accomplished wrestler.
She’d placed second at US Senior Nationals and qualified for the Olympic Team Trials, but since she’s arrived in Great Falls, she’s the first to admit she’s grown by leaps and bounds.
“My mindset has changed,” she said. “You can get stuck in a rut thinking that there’s certain things that I can’t do that I’m not good at, that’s not what I usually do.
“Definitely this year my coaches have challenged that. They told me ‘you will shoot’ and ‘you will develop a takedown,’ and I did. And it’s good to have someone who believed in me more than I believed in myself and I got to a point where I know I can do it.”
Treder grew up in Alaska wrestling against boys – and it toughened her up when she started college and international competition against other females.
“Some of the matches you just have to grind. That’s definitely the style that has translated into my college wrestling career,” she said. “I get out there, and I don’t have fancy moves, I’m not very fast, I kind of have slow feet, but I’m willing to just grind through the match and give the girls heavy hands, and I’m definitely a lot stronger. I’m more willing to put up with just tougher matches.”
That toughness has carried Treder to the No. 1 ranking in the NAIA at her weight class and on the verge of becoming the first-ever women’s national champion from the University of Providence this weekend at the Women’s College Wrestling Association championships.
She’s ready to seize the moment.
“I expect to win, I expect to be the national champion, and I won’t settle for anything less,” she said. “It’s what I want, it’s what I’ve been training for all year and I believe it, I believe that I’ve put in the work.”
And she has a clear idea of what comes after that.
“I’m hoping to stay here and keep training throughout the 2019-2020 cycle, because I hope to make the Olympic team,” she said. “In April, we have the US Open and then the world team trials, and I qualified to go last year and didn’t quite make the cut, but I’m hoping to this year and then next year I hope to make the Olympic team.”
So far so good. Treder went 3-0 on Day 1 of the WCWA championships in Marietta, Georgia,- advancing to Saturday’s 123-pound semifinal round.