Nicknames and sports kind of go hand-in-hand, so it’s not surprising that someone on campus refers to Riley Lefever ’17 as “Three Time.” When you win three individual national championships, monikers like that are bound to follow.
It’s Riley’s response to sharing the story that sheds light on the person behind that championship veneer.
“I find it a little embarrassing,” he says. “I try to shy away from that stuff.”
Yes, Riley is a top-notch student-athlete, the leader of a nationally ranked wrestling team. He is also an English major who dabbles in poetry and has plans to teach following graduation, as well as the head resident assistant on campus, overseeing Rogge Hall, so his impact is far reaching.
Riley Lefever ’17 in Center Hall.
According to Associate Dean of Students Marc Welch, Riley relates well to a variety of people with the ability to lead through his words and actions. His attitude is contagious.
“As an R.A., Riley is naturally caring and concerned for others,” Welch says. “He is an encourager while at the same time holding them to a high standard.”
Fellow R.A. Brian Parks ’18 understands the commitment and integrity that goes into the job, and he witnessed some of those qualities at their first meeting.
“He automatically makes the room more relaxed,” says Parks. “Even though the job is stressful, he tries to put everybody at ease. He cracks jokes, but at the same time, he is a leader. He keeps us in order and makes sure we’re on task.”
One of Lefever’s character traits surprised Parks. Riley is a goof ball.
“He’s goofy. He seems to put a smile on your face every time you walk by,” Parks explains. “You can be yourself with him, and that translates very well to being an R.A.”
Chris Wilson ’19, who claims Riley as both a teammate and an R.A., says that Lefever earns respect on the mat and in Rogge Hall because of who he is, “You can look at him and tell that he’s athletic. I mean, he’s big and strong, but I don’t think everybody realizes how unique he is. He’s laid back. We respect him because he allows us to be ourselves.”
As Riley shoots for a fourth consecutive national championship and a B.A. degree this spring, one professor noted the attributes that help him stand out athletically and as a mentor, also aid him in the classroom.
“The excellent work ethic no doubt helps him in athletics, but it also defines him as a student,” says Agata Szczeszak-Brewer, Associate Professor of English. “He is a good listener, and his responses to texts or to other students’ comments are detailed and always respectful. I view Riley as a humble, down-to-earth guy who never brags about his achievements.”
Riley has impacted the Wabash community in a number of ways, but he is quick to point out the positive effects on him along the way, too.
“Being an R.A. has made me more approachable. I enjoy being able to impact young men’s lives,” “To be someone to talk to – to be a presence in their lives – has made me who I am. These experiences have shaped me as a person, a learner, an educator, and a leader.”