Last weekend Saucon Valley junior, Josh Jones, earned his place on the 2018 PIAA State Wrestling Championship podium as the runner-up to 4-time state champion Gavin Teasdale. Teasdale, a highly-regarded Penn State recruit, did defeat Jones by a 2-0 score, but Jones made Panther Nation proud by taking Teasdale to the wire and coming within inches of claiming the gold. Jones is a highly-decorated wrestler who, by virtue of goal-setting and hard work, has a very bright future.
“Josh has a tremendous work ethic and is committed to trying to reach his goal of being a State Champion,” noted Panther wrestling coach Chad Shirk while addressing Josh’s success. “He wrestled one of the best kids in the country and we are very proud of him.”
It has been a very busy week for Josh, but he did take some time to answer a few questions for Saucon Source. Check out our interview below!
Q: The most important questions first, ……What did you eat to celebrate your 2018 PIAA silver medal? What food do you miss most during wrestling season?
A: To celebrate my medal, I ate a big NY strip steak followed by a big piece of chocolate cake. During wrestling season I would have to say I miss ice cream the most.
Q: You wrestled 126 pounds this year. Was it a tough weight for you to hold this season? What are your thoughts about staying 126 or bumping up to 132 or 138 next season?
A: At the beginning of the year it was kind of tough to get my weight down but as the season went on it was pretty easy to maintain it. I think I will probably be bumping up a weight or two for next season but I have to see how much I will grow.
Q: Have you ever wrestled Gavin Teasdale before the 2018 PIAA State Championship?
A: I have never wrestled him before States.
Q: What were your thoughts after winning your semi-final round knowing you had 3-Time State Champ, Gavin Teasdale next?
A: I knew he was pretty good but also knew I had to take it like it was any other match and get fired up.
Q: Teasdale is committed to wrestle next year at Penn State. Penn State has been the National Champs six of the last seven years. What makes Teasdale so good? What were you most concerned about going into the match with him?
A: He is a very quick wrestler. His feet move very quickly on his go-behinds and he gets to a low-ankle shot very well. I knew I could not let him in deep on a shot and that if I did, I would have to work very hard to defend it.
Q: Coach Tommy Rohn said the game-plan going into the Teasdale match was to “work low to high, crowd him and fight for under-hooks”. Can you tell us a little about that? What worked well and what proved to be most difficult about that plan?
A: When Teasdale wrestles, he drops his level really low to get to his shots. As long as I could keep my level low, he could not get to anything. I would start low and crowd into him and just keep moving forward and get to my under-hook to frustrate him.
Q: Your quarterfinal match against Garret Cornell was a little scary. Tell us about the five-point move you hit late in the third period to come from behind and win. What did you learn from the match?
A: I learned a lot from this match. The biggest thing is never to go into a match without warming up. I took this match too lightly and did not get a great warm-up in before it started. Next time, I will take it match by match, and get fired up like if it were the state finals.
Q: Tell us a little about some of the schools that are recruiting you. Who was in the mix before States? Has your recruitment changed or picked up after earning your PIAA silver medal?
A: Leading up to states, I had been talking to coaches from Pitt, Drexel, George Mason, and Lehigh. After making it to last week’s state championship final, I have also been contacted by Rutgers, Buffalo, and Maryland. I have already taken an unofficial visit to George Mason and I plan to visit all of these schools through spring and summer to narrow my choices.
Q: What is your favorite subject in school? In what do you plan to major at college?
A: My favorite subject in school is math. I plan on majoring in Business Management.
Q: Now that the 2018 high school wrestling season is finished, where do you go from here? What will you do between now and the start of the next PIAA high school wrestling season?
A: Now that the season is over, I will begin training for freestyle and to win a state title next season.
Q: Do you think your brother Jason, who is the all-time winningest wrestler in Saucon Valley history, will be cheering for you to catch him on the all-time wins list?
A: I think he is hoping I get close to him, but I really don’t think he wants me to beat him!
Q: What advice can you give to youth wrestlers who, one day, aspire to compete in a PIAA State Final?
A: Never give up. I have never won the VEWL. I have never placed at PJW states. I have beaten multiple kids this year that I got tech-falled by in elementary and middle school. If you are not having success at the moment, don’t give up. Keep working hard and believing in yourself and success will come.
Good luck moving forward, Josh. The Source is with you!