When Cayden Jordan first stepped onto a Rogers High wrestling mat, coach David Johnston was instantly reminded of so many great Rams wrestlers of the past.
There is a lot to like about the Rams’ new 106-pound freshman wrestler, who is entering his first season with the team.
From Bryce Evans to Beau Shatto to Brandon Brenenstahl, the comparisons are hard not to see in the freshman Jordan.
“He looked comfortable right away, and nothing seems to be over his head,” Johnston recalled of that first practice. “He’s been wrestling awhile, but even with that experience, high school wrestling can be its own challenge. It can be intimidating for a freshman to come in to a team and wrestle against kids older than him.”
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Jordan has done a tremendous job making the adjustments, Johnston added.
“He reminds me a little bit of Bryce Evans’ endurance with the aggression you saw from Beau Shatto,” the coach said.
The high praise for the freshman has to be one thing that Jordan can hope to build on as he sets off to build his own legacy.
“I get to have four years to not only reach the Tacoma Dome, but to place in each of those years,” Jordan said. “Instead of wrestling in junior high, I’m getting the chance to have four years at the Dome instead of just three.”
Instead of wrestling for Ballou Junior High, the Puyallup School District’s shift to allowing freshman on high school teams has shifted the wrestling landscape in the city.
Young wrestlers like Jordan no longer have to wait, and coaches in Johnston’s position get the chance to develop their guys earlier.
“I’ve wrestled for (Team) Aggression Wrestling for years. I was trained by Geoff Kaylor there,” Jordan said. “I’ve trained with some of the top guys from the area. I know what it will take to wrestle here.”
Weighing in at 96 pounds — roughly 10 pounds less that the average wrestler he will face during the season — Jordan is at a sizable disadvantage. Giving up any amount of size or weight can and does play into every match a wrestler goes into, and for Jordan, that will be no different.
And that’s where the comparisons to past Rogers greats that have passed up the stairs and into the small practice room above the gym.
“I don’t know what it is, but he seems to have a little bit of everything those guys had. I don’t mind singling him out at practice and using him to demonstrate a new technique or just something we’re working on,” Johnston said.
After taking home the championship Dec. 3 at the John Birbeck Invitational in his first tournament, there is nothing but hope for this talented young wrestler.
“It means a lot to have that first tournament win,” Jordan admitted. “I’m just hoping to add to it and make the most out of my high school experience.”