This is the 54th 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.
Ohio State All-American Micah Jordan is 20-3 this season at 157 pounds.
If you could take what you know now and have a conversation with yourself at 15, what advice would you give yourself?
I would say don’t stress and get worked up about matches or how you wrestle in practice. I’d say keep improving and just enjoy it. I feel like when I was younger I was really serious about wrestling and sometimes I would forget to enjoy the sport. Right now I’m loving the sport and I’ve kind of changed my mindset since I’ve been to college. One thing I’d say to myself at 15 years old is to enjoy it because it goes by fast.
What were your top three schools in recruiting and why did you pick Ohio State?
My top three were Ohio State, Penn State and Purdue. I chose Ohio State, No. 1 one, because of my brother, Bo, was here. That was a really big influence for me to come here to Ohio State. He’s always been one year ahead of me. I saw him his freshman year of high school pave the path for me and once I got to high school I was trying to follow in his footsteps. He’s a great example for me, a great role model, so once he went to Ohio State it was definitely a big influence. But other than my brother, the coaches here and teammates every day I come into practice with, they’re great wrestlers and great people. I love the program and love staying in the state.
What’s the most rewarding victory you’ve ever had?
I would say last year at nationals in the blood round. That was pretty important for me. My redshirt freshman year I was in the blood round and I lost to (Randy Cruz) of Lehigh and last year I was in the blood round against Lehigh, Laike Gardner (Jordan won 9-6). That was just one match that was really important for me.
If you could take one part of someone else in college wrestling’s skill set and add it to your game, what would be most beneficial for you?
I would say maybe Bo with (his ability to ride) legs. Sometimes on top, I’m not the best on top. I’m pretty good on my feet, so I can take guys down, but it’s tough for me to turn guys. If I could ride legs, that would be a huge skill for me. I think leg riders are really tough to get away from. Once they stretch you out they can burn up so much time on the clock.
Let’s say wrestling has one governing body and you’re the president, what would you want to change?
I would say for college I’d definitely say no headgear. I don’t like wearing the headgear. I’ve worn the headgear in the past and I’ve had two concussions when I’ve been wearing it. It might help a little bit with concussions, I think it’s mostly for (prevention of) cauliflower ear, but I would say no headgear rule is something I would change. And then maybe also for college instead of the stalling call for out of bounds, I’d (add) a (step-out) point like freestyle. I know that would change some stuff up, but that would also help the adjustment from folkstyle to freestyle. Some of those calls on the edge can go both ways, so I think a step-out would be pretty clear.
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?
The day of the match I wake up in the morning and I’m usually right on weight or five-tenths under. I like to be right on or a little bit under so I can get a little bit of food in me. I usually have eggs, sausage, yogurt and fruit and I’ll usually eat up to about a pound over. I’ll be a pound over and then we have a warm-up we do before weigh-ins. I like to do my warm-up before weigh-ins so then right when I weigh in I can eat and relax up to my match. I don’t have to worry about eating and then going out there and warming up again and trying to go right to my match. We’ll warm up before weigh-ins and I’ll lose a lose about two pounds. I get a really hard warm-up. I go with Ke-Shawn Hayes. He’s a good partner. Right after I’m done warming up I usually drink up close to my weight, weigh in and then I usually have Pedialyte with bread, honey, peanut butter and some snacks and fruit.
What’s the last thing you tell yourself before you set your foot on the line?
My parents have always told me to say a prayer before my match and I pray to God and say, ‘Please give me some strength and courage in this match. Let me go out there and wrestle 100 percent and make me happy. No matter if I lose or if I win, let me go out there and wrestle 100 percent for You.’ I’ll say to myself, ‘Loose hands’ because sometimes I go out there in a match and squeeze a lot and that uses a ton of energy, so I’ll say, ‘Loose hands and lots of effort on bottom.’
What’s one thing your coach yells that you can hear every time?
I would definitely say when I take someone down coach Tervel Dlagnev loves to say, ‘Cut him.’ I hear that a ton from the coaching staff and they definitely get their voice out there. I usually don’t hear a ton during the match. It’s in between periods when I look over and you can have good communication, but one point during the match is when you take the guy down and if you’re starting to get on a roll they’ll say, ‘Cut him.’
What’s the strangest thing that’s ever gone through your mind during a match?
My freshman year in high school — I remember this to the day — the first 40 seconds of the match I got thrown to my back and I was looking up and looking at the lights. You know how they always say you don’t want to be looking at the lights? I was like, ‘Dang, this is the first 40 seconds of the match and I’m looking at the lights’ and wondering if I’m going to get pinned here. It was going so slow through my mind. I was thinking about this: ‘Dang, it’s the state tournament finals and I’m looking at the lights 40 seconds in.’ I ended up getting off my back, thank goodness, but I don’t know why I was thinking about that.
If you could go back and re-wrestle any match, which would it be and why?
I would say the (2016) blood round against Randy Cruz. I didn’t wrestle a good match. A lot of it was when I was down on the mat and he’s really good at riding and he rode me out and he turned me to win. I’d definitely go back and wrestle that match and be smarter in the match and give more effort, too.
Who’s one guy you’ve wrestled in college that you enjoy scrapping against and why?
Every match is fun going out there and wrestling. I don’t have any one person I like going against. Brandon Sorensen, I’ve wrestled him and he was a really big challenge because he’s really strong, he stays in good position and he has a single. Me and him have had three matches — One at Iowa in the dual and he beat me, I wrestled him at Big Tens and I ended up getting him and then he got me at nationals. I would say Brandon Sorensen because it was a challenge, he’s a really tough wrestler and it was fun wrestling him.
What’s the most interesting about you that has nothing to do with wrestling?
I really enjoy the stock market. I’m not so much into speculation and everything. I’ve read a lot of books about it and I still don’t know a whole lot, but that’s one thing I’m really interested in and I’d love to get some more knowledge about. I know it’s pretty risky and everything, but that’s something I enjoy.
If you could go back and wrestle anybody from any era, who would you want to compete against?
I would say maybe Dan Gable during his time or Cary Kolat. I know he was really, really tough. They’re both tough. I’d just like to see the difference. Or maybe my dad (Jeff, a two-time All-American at Wisconsin) back in the day. I think that would be fun to see where he was at.