Ola’s Wrestlers ‘Takedown’ National Competition


Anthony DiSario

A. Jones’ family admires her first-place belt after winning first place at 2018’s Super 32. “I’m hoping to get first again this year and just dominate everyone,” A. Jones said.

Payton Disario, Media and Sports Editor

Many define the high school wrestler by an empty stomach, blood, sweat and tears. Yet, at the national level, with competition from California to New Jersey, everything from the stakes to the length of the car ride seems to be amplified. 

A few of Ola’s students recently competed in the Super 32 qualifier, the gateway to a national tournament that originally began in the nineties and has grown each year ever since. Amani Jones, junior, Reese Jones and Samuel Harris, sophomores, and Conner Kimbrough, freshman, will face competitors from across America as they advance to Super 32 in Oct. 

“Wrestlers from all over the nation come to compete so it’s very tough competition. To win that tournament is an honor,” Harris said. 

Aug. 31, the day of the qualifier, marked the first time Harris wrestled in Super 32. For others like A. Jones who won in 2018, it marked yet another year. Nevertheless, the qualifier brought competition from all over that Ola’s wrestlers had to face. 

“I feel like I did really good but if I trained harder and worked better, I could have accomplished more. I probably could have made finals or beaten the kid in the semifinals, he was just stronger and had a better mindset than me,” Harris said. 

The tournament did not leave only Harris with plans to improve. R. Jones also hopes to work as hard as possible between now and the tournament in order to be the best he possibly can. 

“I’m going to work harder. I’ll go to extra practices at [Compound Wrestling] after high school practice and do more conditioning,” R. Jones said.

A. Jones, who did not compete in the qualifier due to the smaller number of female high school wrestlers, watched her brother, R. Jones, and teammates face tough opposition.

“Everyone had a lot of heart there. There was no, ‘Yeah, let’s get it over with.’ They were all trying to win and trying as hard as they could… Regular high school wrestling is not as serious. People slack off a lot and only try at the end. But here, it just counts the whole way,” A. Jones said.

It’s the best of the best in the nation,”

— Reese Jones

Not only does the quality of competition differ greatly as compared to a high school tournament, but the pressure a wrestler faces changes as well.

“Super 32 is more of a “you”-tournament. You’re not really a team. Like, you got this, you won, you did it,” A. Jones said. 

Even though tensions lie over the wrestlers’ heads, many still have confidence and maintain their high hopes. 

“For my first year, I want to get to know my competition and see what I’m up against in the future. If I could All-American, you know, place in the top eight, that would be a great chance to get my name out to colleges and start the recruiting process for next year,” Harris said. 

The wrestlers know they are up against intense opposition. If they want to win, self-confidence proves to be key. 

“Most of the top 25 [of each weight class] in the nation go to it. If they don’t go, it’s because they’re scared. They’re scared to lose,” R. Jones said. 

Ola’s wrestlers will continue to endlessly work towards winning Super 32 until Oct. 12-13, when they will compete in North Carolina against the rest of the nation before beginning their high school season with Ola. 

“It’s the best of the best in the nation… If you’re good in the country, you’re there,” R. Jones said.