As the clock winds down, the battle on the mat grows in intensity. Every second on the mat counts, because every one is earned. Powering through injuries, spending countless hours in the gym, and establishing a strong mental focus is essential. Whomever puts in the most work is due to get the hold, secure the pin and win the match.
Hours and hours in the gym and weight room, a commitment to a strict meal plan, in many cases working through and around an injury, and a year long mental battle to gain the edge all comes down to just minutes on the mat.
Dan Gable, member of 1972 USA Olympic Wrestling Team and legendary Iowa Hawkeye Wrestling Coach, has stated that, “Once you’ve wrestled, everything else in life is easy.” These are words that Jace fully believes and he trains accordingly.
Living life with a quiet focus, Jace sees it as his responsibility to set his own bar higher than most his age, and to also set the example for his younger siblings, something he has learned from his coaches. “Watching my kids wrestle through the years I’ve appreciated what the coaches instill in the kids, that they can achieve anything, they just have to be willing to work for it.” says Lynette, Jace’s mother.
With practice beginning at 5:40 am each morning, you may catch Jace on the mat running drills, doing yoga, or working through a P90X workout in the gym before school begins. Following the final bell the Redman will practice for another 2.5 – 3hrs with his team. “I never see him. I don’t see him till February,” shares Lynette. “He is so self motivated and determined. He sets the goal and will not settle for anything less.” With him not walking through door at home until roughly 7:30pm and working on his homework immediately after, the wrestler knows he has to be in bed early to make his early am workout the following morning.
Being away on wrestling tournaments does put a bit of a strain on the academics and Jace boasts a tough class schedule with college concurrent courses, “I’m really liking Psychology right now and I am also taking Law Enforcement. I like the idea of being able to serve others.” Not entirely sold on where he would like to end up professionally Jace is still determined to maintain his GPA. “I missed a lot of class time going to tournaments but I just have to keep studying to get the work done early.”
Wrestling at 132 lbs is a competitive weight class and it is important to make weight so adhering to a strict nutritional schedule is important to remain healthy. “For lunch I bring cans of fruit to school and I will have half a protein bar in-between first and second period, then the other half in-between third and fourth period to make sure I am gradually eating throughout the day. It’s important to make sure to get my metabolism going.”
Jace recalls an injury he experienced last year at the State Tournament that proved to be a challenge for him when it was all over. “Last year was tough; I took sixth because of an injury. My shoulder came out of place during the match and I had to put it back into place. We continued wrestling and a little bit after that I got caught underneath him. My shoulder came completely out of place and there was no going forward after that.”
“He is just a good young man who loves to be involved in everything,” says Richard, Jace’s father. “He puts his heart into anything he does and wants to do the best he can. He is a great student athlete and puts a high priority on his studies. He’s been able to find the right balance with school, student government, and sports. We are very proud of him.”
Jace has found himself in a unique position with two fellow athletes he considers examples and mentors. Dusty Hone, Cedar High’s very first 4x State Wrestling Champion (who eventually became a National Champion and now wrestles for OSU), together with State Champion Kobe Lloyd, have been integral parts of Roundy’s growth as an athlete. Jace recalls of both of his mentors, “Dusty kept me going. I came and wrestled with him when I was in 8th grade to help get him ready for State and Region. He has just been a really good example to me. He was on a higher level of wrestling. When I was a freshman, it was Kobe that would work with me and help me get to practice each morning, which was really cool.”
As a sophomore Jace was able to experience some success in the sport he is so passionate about. Taking 5th place in Region was a blessing of sorts for the young athlete. Going into the State Championships, many had lower expectations for Jace than he had for himself, but the sophomore left it all out on the mat. “I went out there and I wrestled those kids that beat me during Region, and I wound up beating them, which got me pumped the whole rest of the tournament,” Jace remembers. “I ended up doing a lot better and took 3rd place. It was really exciting for me.” In order to remain focused and hold the right perspective throughout the year,Jace looks to a verse of scripture as a motivator when he is faced with challenges, which reads;
My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes. D&C 121:7-8
“This is real personal to me for wrestling and enduring, everything I am putting myself through to be able to triumph over my opponents, and it also applies to life outside of wrestling as well.”
Says Jace “I know this whole experience will help me throughout my life. I want to serve a mission for my church and do well in college. With all that I have learned from my coaches, my teammates, and my family, I know I can do hard things. It’s a true brotherhood, I have so much respect for wrestlers because that is the hardest thing they will ever do in life is wrestle. I believe that. I’ve wrested so everything else will come easier.” • HSSI