For The Tribune
Garrett Johnson says in order to have success in high school wrestling, you have to make adjustments and attack opponents’ flaws.
“There is obviously a feel-out period,” Johnson said. “If I know my opponent, I research my opponent and attack areas that I think are weak and go for my setups.”
Johnson, who got started in wrestling by attending a program in fifth grade, wrestled at 132 pounds the past three years but is filling the 138 division this winter.
“It’s just me out there,” he said. “I don’t have to rely on anyone else to get the win for me. It’s all on me if I win or lose.”
Johnson said he uses that strategy in trying for takedowns at the beginning of a match if he is trying for an upper body takedown or shoot for the legs.
“If I feel they’re weak up top I’ll work stuff up top, and if I feel they’re weak down low I’ll shoot a bunch of shots,” he said. “I have got multiple takedowns within five seconds. I’d say both (high and low) are equally as easy to get if you know what you are doing.”
Johnson said it depends on the score, and if it is his decision, as to whether he takes up, down or neutral at the start of the second period.
“Reversals are always nice, but if I feel like I’m not going to be able to get a reversal I’ll take neutral,” he said.
Having experience, and working hard in practice are big advantages in wrestling, according to Johnson.
“Conditioning plays a big part in six-minutes matches,” Johnson said. “ You want to be able to go hard from start of finish, but I feel experience is more of a necessity than conditioning.
“Practice is definitely pretty important. You’ve got to make your team better, you’ve got to make yourself better so you’ve got to go hard from start to finish in practice and that’s how you’ll wrestle in a match.”
If a contest goes into a third period, Johnson does whatever it takes to secure a win.
“You’ve got to work hard either way,” Johnson said.”You’ve got to be tough on top, and you’ve got to be willing to fight and get out on bottom.”
Johnson said if he is behind in a match, he’ll take whatever his opponent gives him in order to score points to take a lead.
“I’ll go whatever he is giving me,” he said. “If he’s throwing a wrist out I’m looking to capture wrist, if he’s not throwing wrist out I’m looking to work on other moves like cross face.”
Johnson’s favorite pinning move is a spladle.
“I haven’t ever really hit it, but I like the move by itself,” Johnson said. “It’s pretty exciting. You usually get it from a neutral position. It’s a really funky move. You don’t see many of them, but its fun to watch when somebody gets one.”
He credits hard work at practice, the schedule, and experience as factors for having a strong record thus far this season.
“The schedule we have wrestled so far has been a little bit weak,” Johnson said. “We haven’t wrestled too many northern teams, or (an) Evansville team yet so we’ll see what happens.
“I need to wrestle smarter and use what I know. I need to get better at all aspects of wrestling if I want to be a truly tough opponent.”
Johnson said wrestling stronger opponents at Evansville Memorial, the Mooresville Tournament, and in the Hoosier Hills Conference should have the Owls prepared for the sectional.
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Q: What has it been like attending SHS?
A: “It’s been a great time. I’ve made a lot of friends and kept a majority of them. It’s been a pretty great time wrestling.”
Q: Why is important to have a level head in wrestling?
A: “The mental part of athletics is pretty important. Not only are you trying to succeed in athletics, but also trying to outsmart your opponent. It’s these experiences that you’ll need in life to help you overcome your situations to get you past what you might be going through.”
Q: Do you enjoy your home matches?
A: “It’s always nice to see the people come out and support us. We haven’t had too much support in recent years, but now that we’re doing well I think we’ll get some much-needed support.
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Parents: Lisa and Mike Johnson
Sports: Wrestling, four yeaers
Organizations: Band, French Club, peer tutor
Plans after high school: Attend Rose Hulman for computer science
Favorite food: Pepperoni pizza
Favorite movie: “Man of Steel”
Favorite team: Minnesota wrestling team