The 2022 college wrestling national championships are over … but the great...
Zeke Jones Interview
Watch Bryan’s interview with Zeke Jones
Highlights from the discussion:
This is our chance for us to do our part for America and the Olympic Team. And right now at this point, to pass China (in the medal count). Our goal is pretty simple, we want to the best team in the world. To do that, we need Jordan to perform up to his ability.
On balance of getting Olympic experience
We wanted the guys to have the Olympic experience. That’s why we came into London, went through the Opening Ceremony, the press conferences, got to do a lot of fun things. Then it was time to get out of the circus and get in a place where it was quiet and we could train to stay focused on the goal.
When we were here (London), they didn’t want to go. Then when we got to Belarus, they said, ‘Ok, this makes sense. I had a great week of training.’ Now we’re coming over from the Olympic Village to the UEL (University of East London.) where we can put our team together. We have all our Caels, and Michael Lightners and Sean Bormets here where we can all be one unit and head into the tournament this weekend.
We don’t feel the energy of the Greco team. We feel the energy of each other. Our champions are here like Kendall Cross, and Cael and Jamill Kelly. They’re surrounded by champions and winners. They feel that positive energy. They have their personal coaches and training partners here. The works really done, now it’s to build our team energy to get our team ready to compete on the weekend.
A good year is important
It’s important for our guys to achieve their individual goals more than anything else. We need to be consistent as a country. Dan Gable said that and that stuck with me. ‘Ok, you have a good year. That’s great.’ We want to be consistently competing for team championship. We haven’t won a team championship in 17 years and we were right on the cusp last year. We know that the Russians are obviously the favorites. But they won by 23 points two years ago, they won by five points last year. The gap has closed.
Right now there’s about five countries who are kind of converging on each other. This Olympic Games will define that.
Managing high expectations….with rookies
First off, it’s American history and tradition. When you come through our program, you’re prepared. The champions standing around our mat during practice symbolize that. You know and I know in the previous time we’ve not lived up to that expectation. But there’s a new plan in place. There’s a new way that we’re attacking the techniques and tactics of our wrestling program and how we’re competing against the world. We’re doing it differently than it was done before. And we know that those differences are the right differences. It was a little bit of a learning curve for all of us. We’re all folkstyle guys trying to learn freestyle. Now we know for sure what we’re teaching is accurate. In ’09 and ’10 it was a little bit of guess, there’s no guessing now. The techniques and tactics that we’re using we know win. If you look at the body of work from the last 12 to 18 months, they’ve really been wrestling quite well.