Because the Grand View University wrestling roster lists well over three dozen active athletes, it's not surprising Mexico product and current Viking's freshman Jordan Jones is one of the individuals who was redshirted and won't see any mat time in 2016-17.
That's put the former Bulldog right in the thick of things at 133 lbs., which has to feel at times like he's competing under a microscope considering www.gvvikings.com lists this program as having 11 total coaches.
"Jordan knew of some other guys on our team and showed interest in our program. We got to know him throughout the recruiting process and felt like he’d be a great fit for our program," said head coach Nick Mitchell. "Being a freshman in our program is tough. You take some lumps that first year, but he’s responded well and persevered up to this point. He’s improved a ton already."
As a member of the Heart of America Conference, Grand View was the number one ranked team in the nation as of Jan. 18 according to the National Intercollegiate Athletics Association website with 188 points. Indiana Tech was next with a score of 71. The Vikings also won the the NWCA duals for the sixth year in a row on Jan. 9 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
"He’s redshirting this year, so his focus is getting better and trying to compete with the best guys in the nation, right in our room, on a day-to-day basis," Mitchell said. "Next year and in the future the plan will be for him to compete to win a national title. The focus doesn’t change though. You focus on getting better every day and being ready to compete at the highest level every time you get an opportunity to step on the mat."
While Mitchell's aspirations for Jones may appear lofty, there's good cause for that. For example, not only did the Viking's start the season as the top-ranked team in the nation, in March, 2016, the team won its' fifth consecutive regional and NAIA championships.
"The biggest thing we talk about is living a championship lifestyle. If he buys into that in every aspect of his life, he’s going to be ultra-successful in whatever he decides to do after college," said Mitchell. "He has handled the jump (from high school to college) well. He is doing a good job in school, which is most important, and he’s been able to survive the toughest year of college wrestling."
In 2015-16 for Mexico, Jones helped the team finish fifth in class two at the state meet with a score of 108. He also finished fourth individually at 138 in Missouri with a record of 47-6 after getting edged out by Pleasant Hill's Cole Sullivan 1-0.
"He’s really steady. He isn’t going to get way out of position or make a ton of mistakes. He still needs to improve in every position, but that’s not unique to him," Mitchell said. "Mostly continuing to find opportunities to put points on the board. We’re happy to have Jordan on board. He’s a really good kid and represents the state of Missouri well. Hopefully we can continue to find more guys like him that want to compete at a championship level."
Upcoming events for Grand View include Morningside Sioux Open in Sioux City, Iowa, on Feb. 4, the next day, Feb. 5, the Vikings are at the Missouri Valley Open in Marshall and on Feb. 18 this team travels to Des Moines, Iowa for a Central Region National Qualifier.