Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
SOLON – Before the Solon wrestling team headed to its first meet in November Jax Flynn sat down with the rest of his teammates and listed his goals for the upcoming season.
By the time Flynn arrived home from the season-opening Cliff Keen Independence Invitational the junior was ready to make a few revisions to his long-term goals.
Flynn went 6-1 with four wins over ranked opponents on his way to a third-place finish against a loaded field at Independence.
Since that season-opening performance Flynn has seen his confidence and expectations for the end of the season soar.
“I want to be as high as possible on the podium this year at state,” Flynn said. “We have a goal sheet and on that it was just making it to state but it’s definitely changed to placing at state as high as I can.”
The confidence boost for Flynn came early at Independence with a second-period pin of Class 3A sixth ranked Kent Kragenbrink of Dubuque Hempstead.
It continued on Saturday as he bounced back after being pinned by 1A No. 9 Mason Wickman of Alburnett to win three consecutive matches to place third.
That 3-0 ending to the tournament including a 5-4 win over Wickman and a 4-0 victory over 2A No. 8 Cole Davis of Independence.
“It started off with Independence when I beat three or four ranked kids. That really boosted my confidence a lot,” Flynn said. “When I beat that kid on Friday it helped a lot because I had three more ranked kids on Saturday. If I didn’t win that match on Friday I don’t know if I would have won those matches on Saturday.”
Flynn has only gotten better since his strong start.
He is 21-3, ranked No. 10 in Class 2A at 170 pounds and brings a 12-match winning streak into 2019.
“That was just a kick start because the next couple of weeks he has continued to beat very good wrestlers,” Solon coach Blake Williams said of the strong start for Flynn. “He knows he belongs and can compete with the best of them.”
Flynn has wins over the two in-state foes to hand him losses this season in Davis and Wickman with his other loss coming to James Burks of Omaha Burke.
During his current winning streak Flynn has won a title at the Regina Invitational and earned a 4-0 victory over Class 2A fifth-ranked Abe Michel of Maquoketa.
“He has really made a ton of improvement from last year without a doubt,” Williams said. “Confidence has been a big thing.”
Flynn was in and out of the varsity lineup as a freshman and went 33-18 last season in his first year as a full-time varsity starter.
The experience from the past two seasons has been critical to the early success for Flynn this season.
“Guys like Graeson Dall and Trevor Nelson taught me a lot the last few years,” Flynn said. “Those guys showed me a lot of what it takes to be successful.”
Flynn has nine pins and a tech fall among his 21 wins this season and enters the second half of the season with sky-high confidence and even higher goals.
“A lot of guys go out there expecting to win, expecting success and that’s a huge mental part of this sport,” Williams said. “If you go out there expecting to win that is half the battle.”