When a football team or basketball team or volleyball team wins a big game, the news travels fast and nearly everyone hears about it. But when a wrestling meet takes place, there are limited spectators and the athlete’s hard work often goes unnoticed to the general population. Still, when the Mines wrestling team overcame #17 Adams State College and pulled off an unexpected upset, it was hard to overlook. And, with a first year head coach in Josh Hutchens and only three graduating seniors, this roster looks to have an impressive future ahead of them. The team is led in part by Junior captain Jordan Larsen. Larsen, a Civil Engineering major, has already earned respect in the wrestling community by garnering numerous top three finishes and advancing to the National Championships in his freshman year. On Wednesday, when the Orediggers toppled Adams State, Larsen led the way, placing second in the 153lb weight class. For his success and performance in his career, Larsen is this week’s Athlete of the Week.
[Oredigger]: Talk about what the win over 17th ranked Adams State College meant.
Larsen: That was really cool, it had been since 1998 or so since we last beat them. I think they kind of overestimated us, they forfeited in the 148, and it was a huge team win. The people we needed to step up stepped up and even when we lost some matches, those guys kept it tight.
What does the win mean for the Mines wrestling program?
It’s just one step closer to where we need to be. We’ve got a great team this year and with most of us coming back and Coach Hutch [Head Wrestling coach Josh Hutchens] doing a great job, it’ll be cool to see where we go.
In your career, you have already made it to the national championships and recorded first place finishes. What are some of the goals you have for this season?
When I made it to nationals my freshman year, I got a taste of what it was like. But this year, I want to be an All-American. That pressure is what keeps me focused in and out of practice and in the right state of mind.
In wrestling, you push your body to some pretty physical extremes, and in the class room you give your mind the same kind of pounding. How do you stay focused?
Wrestling kind of helps me stay focused. I go to practice to get away from Mines and blow off a lot of steam.
What is your daily schedule like?
On Monday and Wednesday, I have class from 7:30 until 2. I usually do some homework for about an hour and then head off to practice from 4:15 to 6:45. Then I head home for more homework. But those are my bad days. Tuesdays and Thursdays are usually lighter.
How do you stay relaxed with wrestling and school competing for time?
(laughs) I don’t know. I have real good roommates. None of them are wrestlers, they’re just real good friends, and they help out, you know, like when I’m cutting weight or blowing off steam.
How did you get started in wrestling?
I started with my dad. He was a state champion a couple of times in high school, and I’ve been wrestling since I was 6, a long time ago.
What makes you like wrestling?
I love the fact that it is an individual sport and that it all depends on how hard you work. If you work as hard as you can for as long as you can, you can continually work your way up. You have to have some natural talent, but it is a lot of hard work.
What does a typical practice look like for you?
They are a lot of hard drilling and live wrestling. Sometimes we will have “mental toughness” days that try to break you. These are the best practices, when afterward you can look back and say “I just did that.” My least favorite are Thursdays, which won’t be as
intense, but it’s just a bunch of speed drilling, shot after shot after shot on your partner. It really wears you down.
What do you like about being a student athlete?
The pride you get to have in your school. It’s great to be able to go and represent Mines during competition and creates more of a love for the school.
What other activities do you enjoy, if you ever have free time?
I love to read, especially those far out science fiction books, you know, the typical Mines stuff. But after wrestling is over, I’m going to start skiing again. I’ve always loved it, it’s just hard to go during wrestling. I like working out on my own too, it’s nice without a coach yelling at you. (smiles).
What is your favorite wrestling memory?
Senior year, I won the Colorado 3A State Championships against a kid from another school in my league. It was kind of a rival match and it went into overtime. It was just a great feeling.
What do you like about being on the Mines wrestling team?
I like the group that we have now, with Hutch as our coach. And the guys we have now are scrappers, they work hard all the time. It’s just a real cool group of guys and I love it.