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Seven Minutes with Isaac Jordan

By Andy Hamilton, TrackWrestling, 09/26/16, 12:00PM CDT


This is the 12th installment of seven minutes. It's a series of interviews with college wrestling's top stars.

Most of the question-and-answer sessions last roughly seven minutes. Hence the name. Wisconsin's Isaac Jordan captured his second Big Ten title and earned All-America honors for the third time last season when he reached the NCAA finals at 165 pounds. He takes an 86-12 career record into his senior season with the Badgers. Trackwrestling's Andy Hamilton recently caught up with Jordan. 

Let’s say wrestling has one governing body and you’re the president, what would you want to change?

I think the way it is now is fine. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. I don’t have too much experience in international styles, but as far as folkstyle goes, that’s fine. I think having no forced par terre in Greco is big. Talking to (Jesse) Thielke, at least, he’s pretty excited about it. I think for folkstyle (the rules are) fine.

Take me through your pre-match preparation: What’s the typical size of a last-minute weight cut for you? What do you put in your body after you step on the scale? What do you have pumping through your headphones during your warm-up?

For me, I get off the scale and drink a Pedialyte. We have a nutritionist who comes with us and he has everything prepared for us. I’ll have some fruit and then I’ll warmup again, tape my shoes the same way every time. No headphones, no music. I don’t want to mess around with any of that. I limit the pre-match preparation to simple things.

What’s the last thing you tell yourself before you set your foot on the line?

Just to wrestle and go have fun. I try not to put too much pressure on myself and just go out there and compete. That’s kind of a generic answer, I know, but it’s pretty simple.

What’s one thing your coach yells that you can hear every time?

Move my hands and move my feet. I tend to get pretty stagnant and (Barry Davis) will yell out: ‘Move your hands, move your feet.’ It’s just a simple reminder to get moving.

What’s the strangest thing that’s ever gone through your mind during a match?

I don’t remember any specific thoughts, but there was one time in the state finals — i think it was my junior year — when I was in a scramble and I kind of looked up and made eye contact with someone in the stands. He winked at me and I winked back mid-scramble. It wasn’t a weird thought, but it was a weird thing that happened in a match that you wouldn’t think would ever happen.

If you could go back and re-wrestle any match, which would it be and why?

I would have to say my finals match last year. I don’t think I performed to the best of my ability. I kind of wrestled stiff. You can’t do that. You can’t allow yourself to get caught up in the moment. If I could re-do one match, it’d be that one.

What’s the most interesting about you that has nothing to do with wrestling?

I’m a horrible driver. I hate to drive. I also love golfing and I’m a pretty good golfer.

What’s your greatest fear?

Outside of wrestling, I’m claustrophobic, which is weird because you get tied up a lot in wrestling, but I don’t like tight spaces. But for wrestling, it would be going out and not competing to the best of my abilities. It’s hard to live with going out and wrestling with half effort.  

We’re trying something different with the last part of the series. We’re giving every wrestler the opportunity to ask a question to the next guy we interview. Iowa’s Sam Brooks asks: If you could wrestle anybody from any time, who would it be and where would they wrestle?

Man, that’s a good one. I’d like to wrestle my dad (Jim, a two-time NCAA champion for Wisconsin) back when he was in college. I don’t know how that would work. I’d have him bump up to my weight. I’d like to wrestle him at the Field House here in Madison.

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