On Saturday, March 9th, Saucon Valley senior Josh Jones won the 2019 PIAA state wrestling championship. After finishing 5th as a sophomore and 2nd as a junior, Josh earned his way to the top of the PIAA podium with a victory over Cambridge Springs senior, Tye Varndell. Varndell, who entered the 2019 state final against Jones undefeated with a 42-0 season record, fell 7-3. Jones became Saucon Valley’s 13th state champion.
“Josh has been an incredible role model and someone who has meant so much to our program. Through the years, Josh continued to dedicate himself to the sport of wrestling and never lost sight of his goals and aspirations. During this process he has remained humble and an inspiration to the many who will follow him. We wish Josh nothing but success with all of his future endeavors!”
Saucon Valley wrestling coach Chad Shirk on what Josh Jones means to the Panther wrestling program.
It has been a great year for Josh and his future is looking very bright. Josh gave up some of his valuable time this past week to answer a few questions for Saucon Source. Check out our interview below!
Q: Last year, you finished 2nd in the 2018 PIAA State Wrestling championships. Describe any pressure you felt to finish first in 2019?
A: I definitely put a lot of pressure on myself. I always want to be the best. But, no matter what, I just try to go out on the mat and try to let it fly.
Q: How did it feel when you won the gold? What was going on through your head when you realized that you are a PIAA state champ?
A: I felt a lot of relief. I had worked my whole life leading up to that moment.
Q: When you’re working out and training hard and you hit the wall of discomfort, what is triggered in your head to push through the discomfort? What exactly is your motivation to train harder?
A: I cannot live with the guilt, knowing that I didn’t give my full effort. That definitely gives me a ton of motivation.
Q: With Flo Wrestling carrying States this year, how much did you watch your opponents in their previous matches? Did you adjust the way you wrestle based on what you saw on Flo? You wrestled Tye Varndell in the Final and he was undefeated. Describe any tendencies he showed on Flo that played a part in your strategy?
A: I did not watch my opponents too much. I try not to let them into my head. I don’t like to do that because then sometimes I change the way I wrestle and it doesn’t work that well for me. I wrestled Tye last year and knew that every time I got in on his leg, I scored. I just tried to get to my leg attacks as soon as possible and get some turns on top.
Q: In the semi-finals, you gave up a quick takedown and trailed 2-1 most of the bout. You were finally able to turn Bedford’s Kaden Cassidy with about ten seconds left in the match. You looked so poised and composed. Were you aware of the short time? Was their any panic inside your head?
A: I knew if I wanted to wrestle in the finals again, I needed to score before time was out. Tommy (Coach Tommy Rohn) kept telling me to trust myself and find a way. He kept repeating “find a way”. That really spoke to me because we can always find a way.
Q: You’ve committed to George Mason and will pursue a degree in Business Management. Wrestling aside, can you share a reason or two why you committed to that school?
A: First off, it is a beautiful area with nice weather for the most part. Also, it is very close to Washington DC, which offers tons of business opportunities.
Q: Can you share a couple things about Mason’s campus that appeals to you?
A: Many of the buildings are brand new and they always seem to be updating and modernizing the different features on campus.
Q: Can you share a reason or two why you committed to the George Mason wrestling program?
A: I could tell from the start that the coaches are very caring about all of their athletes. I think that George Mason has the right people to make some big things happen and turn their wrestling program into a national powerhouse.
Q: Is there a “wrestling plan” in place for you next year at George Mason? Will you red-shirt?
A: There is no plan at the moment. The ultimate goal is to wrestle right away but I will cross that bridge when the time comes.
Q: You’ve won Districts, Regionals and now States, what are your next “wrestling” goals?
A: I want to be an NCAA champion and one of the best college wrestlers in the country.
Q: The week before you won your 2019 state championship, your younger brother Jake won his. Has that led to any brotherly bragging rights conflict?
A: (laughing) He has already told me about 1,000 times that he has won junior-high states and that I never have.
Q: Your older brother Jason is Saucon’s all-time leader with 164 wrestling victories. You finished your career with 154 wins. Is there any brotherly conflict going on there?
A: I don’t say much to him about it. When he jabs at me, I just remind him that I have a gold medal and he doesn’t.
Q: When you are not training, what do you like to do in your free time?
A: I like to watch Netflix, hang out with friends, eat food, and hang with my dogs, Kacey and Bella.
Q: What was your first big meal after States?
A: A New York strip steak from the Steel Club. It was absolutely amazing and I was too full for dessert.
Q: If Don Rohn, Tommy Rohn and Chad Shirk had a Round-Robin wrestling tournament, who would be the champ?
A: (laughing) Donald would probably crush both of them, and maybe even end up in jail.
Best wishes Josh, the Source is with you!