Dorian Crosby wrestling
Photo: Emily Paine
" "
Dorian Crosby ’24 finds success on the mat by relying on strength, strategy and confidence.

Ground Control

by Andrew Faught
Growing up in Erie, Pa., Dorian Crosby ’24 and his 11 siblings enjoyed mimicking the exploits of WWE heroes in the family’s living room. The roughhousing came at a cost: “We hit tables; we broke lamps and couches,” Crosby says.

But there was an upside: The antics sparked a passion for a sport that runs in his blood. Crosby’s father, who wrestled for Appalachian State University, coached his son when the young athlete began showing interest in the more disciplined version of the sport.

As a high school senior, Crosby posted a 47-1 record and won the 2020 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class 3A State Championship. It laid his path to becoming a Bison. In his junior season at Bucknell, he tallied a 9-1 heavyweight dual record en route to competing in the 2023 NCAA Wrestling Championship. He and teammates Kurt Phipps ’24 and Dylan Chappell ’25 represented Bucknell’s largest number of NCAA qualifiers since 2017. Although the trio lost their first-round matches, the experience reminded Crosby why he competes.

Dorian Crosby headshot
Photo: Emily Paine
“Win, lose or draw, it’s thrilling for me to get out there and know that I’m trying my hardest,” he says. “You’re going to get complete physicality from me every time. I know I can get my opponent tired. I’m there to dominate as much as I can and wrestle my match — while not letting them get a chance to wrestle theirs.”

His approach has worked. During the 2022-23 season, Crosby ranked as high as No. 31 in the heavyweight class in the NCAA coaches poll, a criterion that’s used to evaluate and determine NCAA Division I tournament qualifiers. Crosby also celebrated two big wins against highly ranked opponents from powerhouse schools Michigan State University and Navy.

Crosby’s red-letter year came on the heels of a challenging one. A neck injury forced him to sit out his entire sophomore campaign. Throughout that year, he cheered on teammates from the sidelines while pining for his return.

Now, with one more season before graduation, Crosby’s goals are clear: “I want to go out with a pop,” he says. “I want to be an NCAA champ-ion, to get on that podium.”

At 285 pounds, Crosby’s game plan relies on physical strength over quickness. He always sets out to be the aggressor, insisting on making first contact with his opponent. He uses his lower-body strength to “shoot and tie,” incorporating his hips, legs and feet to drop his opponent to the mat.

He says having a strong mental game is just as critical. “If you go out there doubting yourself, you’re not going to win,” he says. “I take time before each meet to envision myself winning, to see my hand getting raised.”

Beyond wrestling, Crosby is nurturing his other passion: teaching. The early childhood education major plans to pursue a master’s degree in special education and teach kindergarten.

“I did my practicum in a kindergarten class, and I loved it,” he says. “I love having an impact on the youngest learners. They are so innocent, and they’re just learning about the world. It’s exciting to be able to influence them.”

Instant Replay

“In high school: winning the state championship. At Bucknell: winning nine straight dual meets my junior year.”
Rebounding from injury
“I was hungry. I wanted success. I told myself to start slow and keep a level head. And then after that, I was on a roll.”
Advancing to the NCAA Championship
“I just kept taking one match at a time. The team had confidence in me.”
Keeping perspective
“Obviously, no one wants to lose, but I’ll always be proud of myself if I leave it all on the mat.”