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Jordan Rogers pinned 42 of 42 for Junior Schalles Award
By Mike Finn
Jordan Rogers did not pin Jared Bartel when the state of Washington wrestler competed in the Dream Team Classic in Iowa City on April 20. But Rogers’ 12-4 major decision at 182 pounds gave a packed house at West High School a chance to see why the senior from Mead High School earned the Junior Schalles Award as the nation’s best high school pinner.
The future Oklahoma State wrestler from Spokane, Wash., went upper body in three of his four takedowns. His second takedown off a front headlock with 29 seconds left in the first period led to a pair of two-point nearfalls before Rogers closed out his scoring when a second bear hug also put Bartel on his back for a two-point nearfall ten seconds in the final period.
“I like to throw guys and it either comes off my shot or their shot,” said Rogers, who pinned all 42 opponents during his senior year at Mead, where he captured a third Washington state title. At state he flattened all four foes in the first period; the quickest pin coming in 11 seconds.
“The philosophy I’ve been taught is to always look for the fall whether it’s your shot or theirs,” said Rogers, also named the Junior Hodge Trophy winner this issue. “If you can’t finish a shot, come back throwing.”
Rogers becomes the 14th all-time high school wrestler to receive this award, presented annually by Cliff Keen and the NWCA. The award is named after Clarion’s two-time NCAA champ Wade Schalles (see note on page 48 story).
“This is the first time someone has won the Junior Schalles by pinning 100 percent of his opponents. Adding to that, everyone I talk with indicates this young man is a better person than he is a wrestler; something all of our athletes should aspire to achieve. My congratulations to Jordan, his coaches and family,” said Schalles of this year’s winner.
“For Jordan to pin every opponent and finish the year ranked No. 1 shows the level of wrestler he is,” said WIN Publisher Bryan Van Kley. “It’s also incredible that all but one of the pins came in the first period. Look for him to do big things in college.”
Rogers hopes to wrestle at 184 pounds at Oklahoma State and also expects to redshirt next winter.
“I personally would like a season of seasoning,” said Rogers. “I want to learn and get stronger as a wrestler.”
That philosophy helped Rogers when he first adjusted to high school wrestling.
“When I started out as a freshman, I was going against upperclassmen, which was not a huge deal for me. “I guess it’s more of a maturity thing,” said Rogers, who competed at 182 pounds this winter. Only one regular-season opponent made it through the first period.
“I just felt like against many of the guys I wrestled this year, I had more mat time than them,” he said. “It was a little bit of a challenge for me to stay on top of my game and push myself on the mat.”
Rogers said the only wrestler he did not pin during the regular season came in a tournament in Montana, which used the old high school weight of 189 pounds. Rogers moved up to face Idaho state champion Garrett Demers, who won the Tri-State tournament in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (a December tournament where Rogers pinned four opponents, including in 56 seconds in the championship bout).
“I pinned (Demers) in the third period,” said Rogers. “He was one of the toughest ones that I had.”
Before competing in the Dream Team Classic, Rogers also wrestled in the Dapper Dan Classic in March, when he pinned Wesley Phipps of Pennsylvania and was named O.W. of the annual event in Pittsburgh.
“That was where I got a chance to see really tough competition at the national level,” said Rogers. The Washington prep coincidentally will join Jordan Oliver, winner of the Schalles Award — presented to the nation’s best college pinner — at Oklahoma State next fall.
“I’m going to miss high school wrestling but the whole college experience will be new since there is no college wrestling in Washington. It will be awesome to learn something new in college.”