Moffat County wrestling coach Mark Voloshin pins down University of Wyoming Hall of Fame induction

Moffat County wrestling coach Mark Voloshin poses with family members during the induction ceremony for the University of Wyoming Hall of Fame. Voloshin was inducted as part of the Cowboys' 1985-86 wrestling team.
Courtesy photo

In 1985, Moffat County wrestler Mark Voloshin had just been part of a historical feat for the Bulldogs with the school’s first team state championship in the sport.

The next stop was Laramie, Wyoming to be part of a program that was just as hot at the time, and a few decades later, he’s experiencing another milestone.

Voloshin was recently inducted into the Hall of Fame for University of Wyoming athletics as part of the 1985-86 wrestling team.

The Hall of Fame Class of 2023 included Cowboy individuals and groups from across the years, with both the 1984-85 and 1985-86 grapplers part of the ceremony as back-to-back champions of the Western Athletic Conference and Mountain Intercollegiate Wrestling Association championships, according to the university site.

“The 1985-86 team finished 7-0-1 and was ranked 9th in the country,” reads “The Cowboys also won the WAC and the MIWA and featured six conference champions — Mike McNaney, Mike Hamel, Brian Wilson, Joe DeCamillis, John Bragg and Jon Cogdill. With six qualifiers, they tied for 32nd at the NCAA Tournament.”

Voloshin — who later qualified for the nationals himself as a junior and senior — was a freshman during the season and looked up to many of his older teammates.

“It was a great group of guys, a lot of leaders on that team,” Voloshin said. “There were many guys in that room that still hold career records in University of Wyoming wrestling. A couple of guys are deceased, but they had kids there who are also wrestlers. Just about everybody was there, even one guy who works in Switzerland. Two of my teammates have kids who are Olympic athletes, one in figure skating and one in gymnastics. It’s good to see those type of people and see how they’ve done and the successes they’ve had.”

Among the records that still stands is Hamel’s career pin tally, which was 61 from 1982 to 1986. Voloshin is right behind him on the record board, with 42 from 1986 to 1990 to rank him second all-time.

Voloshin also is on the top 10 list of Cowboys’ single-season pins, tied for fourth with 16 in his last year in the sport.

“That’s the pinnacle of the sport to get the pin,” Voloshin said. “No other sport is like that; to instantly stop the match and win like that.”

Mark Voloshin competes during a wrestling match for University of Wyoming.
Courtesy Photo

Voloshin said part of the reason he chose to attend Wyoming was because of the toughness the team displayed, and he was personally pursued by the long-time head of the program.

“Joe Dowler recruited me right out of Moffat County,” Voloshin said. “I was thinking about going to Nebraska, and he knew about that and came down here to get me.”

Joe Dowler — brother of Lombardi-era Green Bay Packers powerhouse Boyd Dowler — was one of three head coaches Voloshin had at the college level and awed the Craig kid with his connections.

“Wherever we traveled across the country, we’d have layovers in airports and people came up to him everywhere we went,” Voloshin said. “They’d say hi and talk, sometimes for hours. He was a great ambassador for wrestling at University of Wyoming. “

Joe Dowler was inducted into the U of W Hall of Fame in 2005 and passed away in April 2022, but was certainly remembered at the Sept. 1 ceremony — a sold-out event which Voloshin attended with his immediate and extended family.

“It was really hard to get tickets, and we’re lucky we were able to get everybody there since we bought them really early,” Voloshin said. “It was good to have the whole family there.”

Voloshin and his fellow inductees were also highlighted that weekend at halftime during the Cowboy football team’s double-overtime victory against Texas Tech.

“It was an honor and a privilege to accept that award,” Voloshin said. “It’s an incredible achievement and recognition.”

Since leaving Laramie, Voloshin has been a strong proponent for wrestling in Moffat County and has spent many years coaching the sport at every level, taking the head coach position at MCHS last year, where he plans to continue this winter.

He also hopes his induction will serve as motivation for his athletes to push themselves and follow their dreams.

“I guess it’s a good example to show kids that when you put your mind to it, hard work definitely pays off,” Voloshin said.

More Like This, Tap A Topic

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Craig and Moffat County make the Craig Press’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.