DODGE CITY— He was Smoky Valley's anchor on the offensive line, weighing in at 285 pounds. He will represent the Vikings one last time in the 46th annual Kansas Shrine Bowl Football Game in Dodge City this Saturday. Wampler already made plans in life after football and will focus on his new career. A welder.

Wampler is coming off his senior season where the Vikings finished with only one loss, which was in the Class 3A semifinals to Pratt High School. He paved the way for the Vikings' dominant running game with Cort Elliott and Tim Lambert in the backfield. Wampler kept himself busy after football. He wrestled in the winter and was a thrower for the Vikings' track and field team in the spring. The grind never stopped for the senior.

"Our coaches really pushed us in the weight room, and we were in there once or twice a day," Wampler said. “We don't take that much time off."

As a starter for the Vikings football team, and a state qualifier for wrestling, Wampler mentioned how being a wrestler benefitted him in being a better lineman.

"Doing wrestling compared to football is way more beneficial because we know how to push ourselves a little bit further than more people, so it's more of mental toughness in here, and a lot is form and positioning in the body," Wampler said. "When you're wrestling, you have to learn how to position your body and not to put yourself in bad positions to get pinned.

Out on the football field, moving your hips in different ways would help open up bigger holes and an advantage for a lineman, pushing them out of the way. It also helps when positioning on a form of tackling.

Outside of Vikings athletics, Wampler enrolled in the Salina Tech Welding Program for a year and a half and will graduate from there. Then on, he will work on becoming a professional welder. It was a tough decision for Wampler, hanging up his cleats for good.

"I thought about playing for a really long time, but there is nothing that I wanted to go further in college, and I know I wanted to be a welder," Wampler said. "I knew that I hate being in class and sitting down and doing paperwork, crunching numbers, and stuff."

He got interested the moment his friends introduced it to him. It was some of the hidden talents he discovered and was excited to learn more about it.

"I've always had the fascination of building things and making things out of nothing," Wampler said. "That really drove me into that. I had some buddies that went through the program, and they are excelling in that field, and they are getting paid really well. I tried it out, and I enjoyed it since. I got lucky to see what it was all about."

Wampler is expected to play center for the West team. He will be on the same team as Gabe Hoover of McPherson High School. Tyson Bauerle will be the head coach for the West team. Kickoff for the Shrine will begin at 7 p.m. at the Memorial Stadium.

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