Interviews by Curt Heinrichs
Assistant wrestling coach J Jaggers spoke with Curt Heinrichs following the #5 Buckeyes' victory over #6 Illinois. Jaggers was a 2-time NCAA Champion in his career as a Buckeye, as well as a multiple time Academic All-American. Jaggers is in his 2nd year as an assitant coach.
Curt Heinrichs- On the Illinois match…What did you as a coaching staff like about the match?
J Jaggers- Obviously we liked the box score (25-9 in favor of the Buckeyes). I think with us, we never try to get too low when we lose and never try to get too high when we win. That was a good Illinois team that we just beat. To win 25-9 against a team that’s ranked 1 slot lower than you is pretty good. When you go back and look at individual matches, there are things you can critique with each match, probably with exception to 133 lbs (#1 Logan Stieber pinned #8 Daryl Thomas in the 1st period).
Triggas at 125 needs to work on leg attack defense. He gave up a 5 point move and took himself out of the match.
At 133, it took a little too long to get his offense going, but when he doubled up his attacks, he scored the takedown.
Hunter (Stieber) has got to score more points in the 3rd period. He kicked the guy’s butt for the 1st 5 minutes and in the last 2 minutes, it was even. You’ve got to keep building your lead.
CH- Have you been working with Cam (Tessari) on some of that scramble-type wrestling? Some of that
Looks pretty familiar to those who remember you as a wrestler?
JJ- A lot of that’s him. You can’t teach some of those positions, but we scrap in practice for sure. The more times you’re in those positions, the better you’ll do with it.
(Josh) Demas has got to find a way to get the major (in a major decision, the winning wrestler has between 8 and 14 points more than his opponent at the conclusion of the match, earning 4 team points). He had the major with 1 minute left. You see it all the time that a guy is able to escape with 5 seconds left and there goes the major. Josh was taking him down at will, so we wanted him to go ahead and get another takedown to ice the major. He wasn’t able to use enough juice to get that takedown at the end.
Mark Martin did an excellent job against the #8 kid in the country. Polz is tough and Martin needs a signature win. He kept it tight and took him out of his comfort zone, but wasn’t able to get out from the bottom.
(Nick) Heflin did a good job. I’d still like to see him get his offense going a little bit more. He’s working on it a lot in practice and it’s starting to come out a bit in his matches. Tonight was a little glimpse of it. We saw it a little bit with those post-double legs. We’re used to seeing Nick Heflin shoot 3 times in a match, tonight it was 6. I’d like to see him shoot 14 in a match.
Kenny Courts weighed in at 186 and wrestled the Big Ten champion at 197. He did a good job of getting the win, but that style of wrestling in the 3rd period isn’t what we’re about.
Pete (Capone) did a great job. There aren’t going to be any high-scoring matches at that weight. He controlled the guy on his feet and never was in any danger. He got out from the bottom and almost turned him.
As a whole, we can be excited. We beat a pretty good team by a wide margin. We can ride back to Columbus (from Oak Harbor, Ohio, where the dual meet was held) and take a step back when we watch the film individually with our guys.
CH- Your alma mater St. Peter Chanel (where Jaggers won 4 Ohio High School State Championships) is closing after this year. What’s that mean to you?
JJ- Graham (Coghill, long-time Chanel coach) retired last year and a friend of mine, Tim Scarl, took over the program. He’s young and brings a lot of energy. I can’t comment on high school wrestling as a college coach, but it’s a little sad. My son won’t be able to go there and won’t even know what it was by the time he grows up, but that’s that.
Ohio State senior 184 lb wrestler and Oak Harbor Alumus CJ Magrum dropped a close 2-1 decision in front of his hometown crowd against ranked Illini wrestler Tony Dallago.
CH- Of all of the matches you’ve wrestled in this gym and on this mat, does this one really stand out to you?
CJ Magrum- For sure. This is the most packed I’ve ever seen the gym and a lot of people I know came from far away to come here. It’s just awesome to get the opportunity to wrestle here again.
CH- It was a close match. Obviously you’d like it to go in your favor, but talk a little bit about how the match panned out. Do you look forward to getting another crack at Dallago at Big Ten’s or Nationals?
CJM- We’ve wrestled like 3 times so far in my career. I know that I’ll probably run into him at Big Ten’s or Nationals, so I’m not too worried about it.
Cam Tessari, a returning All-American for the Buckeyes hails from nearby Monroeville, Ohio. Tessari earned a dominant 6-1 decision against Caleb Ervin of Illinois.
CH- What’s the distance from Monroeville to Oak Harbor?
Cam Tessari- About 30 minutes or so.
CH- You’ve obviously got a lot of family and friends in the crowd. Do you feed off of that energy from the stands, or do you just block it out once you hit the mat?
CT- I try to hit the mat and block it out. It’s also a lot of fun to see familiar faces in the crowd and mingle a little bit with people I know before and after the match.
CH- Obviously you’re used to wrestling after a pair of Stiebers (Tessari, Logan Stieber, and Hunter Stieber were all teammates at Monroeville High School and all won 4 Ohio State Championships). Do you feed off of the energy from Logan and then Hunter when you step on the mat? Does their high level of competition push you to succeed as well?
CT- I don’t like it (laughs). They’re always going out there and winning and putting me on the spot. Really though, I’m used to it and it’s good to see them succeed and it does help me a little.
CH- You rode Ervin tough when you got on top. Was that the gameplan, or was that what you saw working and stuck with it?
CT- I was working to get a turn, but I wasn’t able to. The gameplan coming out was to neutralize his top game and I was able to do that and get the W.
CH- You were an All-American last year as a true freshman (Tessari lost the first match at Nationals, then reeled off 6 straight decisions before losing in the 3rd place match. Tessari ended up placing 4th). You stumbled a bit early on this season. What are you doing to get back on the podium this year?
CT- I’m trying to peak in March. I didn’t have the best start to the season, but I’m working my way back up. I’m just trying to peak in March and make my way to the National Championship.
Buckeye wrestler Kenny Courts has burst on to the collegiate scene, currently ranked #16 at 184 lbs. Courts bumped up to 197 lbs to take on defending Big Ten champ, #13 ranked Mario Gonzalez of Illinois. Courts stormed out to an 8-0 lead after the 1st minute of the match and was able to hang on for a 13-9 decision.
CH- Kenny, great match! You came out and attacked right off the whistle. Was that the gameplan, to come out fast, build a lead, and hold on?
KC- I wasn’t trying to hold on. He was big and relentless, so that’s how it ended up. I tried not to be as passive as I’ve been in the past because that’s gotten me nowhere. I tried to treat it like a high school match and lay It on my opponent. That’s what I stopped doing and I’ve started getting back to it.
CH- You’ve wrestled most of the year at 184 lbs, but you were up at 197 tonight. What’s the difference in your mind?
KC- Basically I think the guys are a lot better at 184. The guys at 197 are bigger and stronger, but they don’t have as many shots to worry about. That’s the difference, but I’m not looking forward to wrestling up there soon. I’m happy to get a big win over a good guy, but I’m ready to move on.
Returning All-American sophomore Hunter Stieber is currently ranked #2 in the country at 141 lbs. Stieber continued his undefeated season by earning a major decision against Illinois’ Stephen Rodrigues.
CH- You grew up just a few minutes down the road (from Oak Harbor, in Monroeville). What’s it like wrestling in front of a lot of family and friends near your hometown?
HS- We actually have a pretty large crowd from Monroeville that follows us around. It’s nothing too different, but it’s cool coming back here to wrestle in front of all of my family and friends again.
CH- You followed your brother who had a big pin. Do you feed off of that energy?
HS- He got a pin, but I wasn’t able to get one. I definitely feel that energy after he gets a big win, though. The way he wrestles gives me a lot of energy.
CH- You’re #2 in the country and undefeated. Do you have #1 (Oklahoma’s Kendric) Maple in your sights or do you not even worry about that?
HS-I just try to do the best that I can do. That’s all I can do right now. I don’t know when I’ll wrestle him, hopefully in the NCAA finals, but I can’t worry about that right now. I’m obviously going to keep an eye on him so there are no surprises, but that’s all I can do for now.