Newman delivers his brand of Minnesota pop
SJNMA's Newman, a Minnesota native, has wrestling roots
It's tough to find better wrestling than what's available in the state of Minnesota - a Dec. 13 poll put forth by Amateur Wrestling News had four schools from the state slotted in the top 20 (the most from any state). At St. John's Northwestern Military Academy, Minnesota import Jordan Newman is just a sample of what the state provides.
The native of Blaine, Minn. (outside of Minneapolis), Newman wrestled at state-ranked Coon Rapids High School as a freshman, then transferred to the military academy in Delafield. As a kid wrestling since age 4 or 5, Newman joined Danny Bush at the state meet last year and became just the second and third state qualifier ever from SJNMA. He wants more than to just make a return trip this year.
"I didn't really do as well as I wanted to," Newman said of his 0-2 experience at last year's meet at the Kohl Center. "It definitely motivated me to work harder and do better this year. My goal is to win state."
Now a senior, that goal is attainable. Newman is ranked fourth by Wisconsin Wrestling Online among Division 2 wrestlers at 170 pounds, with reigning state champion Jake Morrissey of Oconto Falls ranked No. 1. After winning a title two weekends ago at Richland Center, Newman headed into the holiday break at 14-0.
"At Richland Center, (I faced) the fifth-ranked kid, the eighth-ranked kid as well as a couple honorable mentions, so I see some competition," Newman said. "We wrestled some top competition in our first tournament of the year at Kettle Moraine, so we do see those (high-level) teams."
That's important in Division 2, where SJNMA isn't geographically convenient with the competition that will be waiting at the Kohl Center come late February. At the Laser Duals, Newman pinned or tech falled his way through his five matches, beating foes from strong area D1 programs like Oak Creek, Mukwonago and West Allis Hale.
"It's tough but a good way to start the season," SJNMA wrestling coach Paul Havel said. "Kids learn a lot, and it helps prepare us. We go on Thanksgiving break, and kids are gone longer than most schools, so it's a good tournament, and a kid like Jordan, he gets to see some top competition."
Wrestling at 160 last year, Newman took a 24-2 record into the state meet. He defeated Jeff Becker of Sheboygan Falls, 5-4, to claim a sectional championship after qualifying for the sectional as a sophomore.
"He had a tough go of it at state, lost his first match 16-9 and lost 4-3 in the last 10 seconds, or he would have been on the podium," Havel said. "That's kind of stuck with him, and I want that to stay in his mind, those last 10 seconds. Since then, he's had going back to state on his mind, and we're looking forward to getting back there and seeing what he can do."
SJNMA hasn't had the wrestling traditions of other area programs, so Havel worked to beef up the schedule last year in his first year as varsity coach. With a regional including teams such as Delavan-Darien, East Troy and Catholic Memorial, it was a challenge even getting wrestlers to sectional.
"It was not a done deal to get through that tournament series and get to Madison, but I was confident Jordan could do it," Havel said. "He really breezed through regionals and sectionals."
Newman said his wrestling experiences began at a young age primarily because his father was a proficient wrestler during his own varsity days.
"Basically, I've liked it ever since I started," Newman said. "I like the fierce competition, like that you can put in the hard work and get the results, like almost everything about it. Mainly, I like the competition aspect."
He played football at one time but now focuses entirely on wrestling, competing in the fall and spring at the Askren Wrestling Academy in Hartland and attending camps back home during the summer.
"He's tough on his feet," Havel said. "He's tough on top, too, but his strength is on his feet. He doesn't give up takedowns, and he scores a lot of takedowns. He's got a good leg attack, and he's not afraid to go upper body with guys. He's wrestled for so long, wrestles freestyle and has done some Greco in the past; that background helps.
"I would say, most importantly, he's a tough kid. That's always a good thing in wrestling, to be tough. When you get to the sectional and state and some of these tournaments, you're going to see some tough kids, some physically tough kids, and that doesn't bother him. He thrives on wrestling those type of kids."
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