June 7, 2022
Empowering athletes to train like a pro
After putting his heart and soul into the cross country skiing team at St. Scholastica, John Wessling ’14 has put his skills to the test as he continues to push himself, and his athletes to be their best selves. Wessling resides in Utah and California, where he is currently the head coach for the UCLA cycling team.
From small beginnings
Wessling graduated from St. Scholastica in 2014, but the activities and accomplishments during his undergraduate studies would propel him through life. Both academically and physically, reminders of the College enter Wessling’s daily life.
With a degree in business and technology studies, Wessling has not only kept up a business he started during his final year at St. Scholastica, but also went on to partner in another. “I started Wessling Fitness my final year at St. Scholastica. At the time, I was a cross country ski coach to a group of high school athletes in Duluth and trained some local motocross professionals for fun. I didn’t know it would turn out to be a career eight years ago!”
The success doesn’t stop with Wessling, as he has since partnered with two other alumni in the work of Troll Training, their business venture started in 2020. “My business partner and professional motocross racer of 12 years, Alex Martin (brother of Jennifer Martin ’16), and I started Troll Training to help amateur and professional athletes around the world with training, diet, recovery and everything else it takes to compete at the top level of the sport. We hired Kenneth Smith ’11, a Ph.D. food scientist, to help with the nutritional side of things for our athletes.”
A day in the life
Although Wessling’s passions have taken him farther from Duluth, he continues to exemplify the work he began at St. Scholastica. “My job right now consists of training professional and amateur athletes. I work with athletes in the following: motocross and supercross, cycling, snowmobile racing (snocross), Le Man’s car racing, running and cross country skiing. I could be helping them with anything from a cycling workout to a strength session. I am also the head coach for the UCLA cycling team and an instructor/coach on all NordicTrack stationary bikes worldwide. My day-to-day job is managing each athlete’s schedule and what they need to do for training on a particular day, how to approach their training for an upcoming event and managing injuries while training.”
Wessling resides in both Park City, Utah and Santa Monica, California, and spends his time traveling to his clients for in-person training. In his free time, he continues the athletic drive he had years ago as a student-athlete. “For fun, I race cross country mountain bikes professionally and train up to four hours a day when time allows. I can’t stop competing myself, I love the challenge and process it takes to compete in endurance sports.”
Wessling hopes to continue in the work he is doing now, “I want this to be a long-term role. I truly enjoy coaching and mentoring athletes. I wouldn’t want to do anything else at the moment, even if I won the lottery!”
Something in the water
In his time traveling, training and working to be the best version of himself, Wessling credits his time at the College. “Being a part of the St. Scholastica Nordic Ski Team was the single greatest thing I have done to get myself in the position I am now. Having a head coach like Chad Salmela who poured his heart and soul into coaching, taught me the correct training methodology and everything else that goes into being a high-level athlete. I will forever be grateful that he was my coach. My teammates on the Nordic Ski team were some of the hardest working athletes I’ve come across to this day and they helped propel my mindset as an athlete and my knowledge as a coach. A handful of my teammates are still competing at the highest national or world level, like Paul Schommer, who made the Olympic team this past year. It might have just been the ice-cold tap water we were drinking in Duluth, but there was something special about the ski team in those years.”
A word of advice for those who are still undecided about life when leaving the College, “I didn’t know what I would be doing for a career the day I graduated college. I think it’s good for students to know it’s okay if they don’t know what they want to do at twenty years old. The real world is full of opportunities if you’re passionate about something. Go Saints!”