Circleville junior Jacob Johnson is slated to make his first appearance in the state wrestling championships, scheduled from Friday through Sunday inside Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center.
Johnson finished fourth last weekend in a Division II district tournament held at Steubenville High School to qualify.
The 132-pound junior grappler defeated Indian Valley’s Hunter Albright 14-7 and edged Miami Trace’s Corbin Melvin 3-2 before falling in a semifinal match to eventual district champion Brode Saccoccia of Steubenville.
He bounced back to defeat Albright for the second time in two days, this time by a 3-2 score in the consolation semifinal, to earn the final qualifying spot for the state tournament.
Johnson (14-6) is slated to face Defiance sophomore Mason Ducat (47-4) on Friday in a Division II championship preliminary match.
Question: How do you feel you wrestled last weekend at the district tournament and chat with us about winning your match to qualify for the state tournament?
Answer: I felt like I wrestled great. All of my matches were tough and all of them went to the third period, but I never folded, not even for a second. Before my match to clinch a spot into the state tournament, I was alone in order focus up and go out to do what I had to. The adrenaline after I won that match was like nothing I have ever experienced before.
Question: What are your keys to success on the mat with your style of wrestling?
Answer: My conditioning is outstanding and I can wrestle hard for the whole match and not let off the gas pedal. I might not be the strongest, but my technique makes up for that. I am hardworking and dedicated to this sport and nothing can change that.
Question: Talk to us about your practice and training routine and how it has pushed you to become a better grappler?
Answer: Our practice is hard and to the point. We go a lot of live and hard drilling in order to have a peak performance at our tournaments. My practice partners are very technical and strong, so they push me every day without a doubt. And I want to thank them for that.
Question: What are your expectations for the state tournament?
Answer: I want to become a state placer this year. I am wrestling every day at our practice and I’m doing extra conditioning at my house or at the gym.