By Joey Erickson, athletics communications
In wrestling, as in life, it’s critically important to being ready to go no matter what the situation when opportunities arise. Almost no Gopher exemplifies this quite like Jordan Kingsley.
Kingsley never served as a full-time starter for Minnesota and spent his dual career hopping between two weights, 125 and 133. This meant that he was rarely favored when he went up against his dual competitors.
“A couple times before each match J would always tell me ‘You’re the underdog here. They’re not expecting you to win so you have nothing to lose,’” Kingsley said. “I always went out there knowing I had nothing to lose … [but] I still wanted to give it my all.”
Even though his opportunities in the starting lineup were limited, it didn’t damper his mood whenever he got a chance.
“It can be frustrating at times knowing you’re not the guy, but at the same time I’m thankful for all the opportunities I got to step in,” Kingsley said. “Even if it was the last second before I knew I was wrestling or if I knew ahead of time. I was always excited.”
Now a senior, that excitement about unknown opportunities is again present as he looks forward to the next part of his life.
Starting in November, Kingsley will be serving as a coach in the Lakeville youth wrestling program, working with two age groups, kindergarten through third grade and third through sixth grade.
His desire to be a coach grew while working at the J Robinson Intensive Camps during the past several summers, camps he will work again this summer.
“I wanted to go into coaching so I want to get better working with these kids,” Kingsley said. “It’s always something fun to do. I enjoy teaching them technique and running them though practices.”
Kingsley would like to continue with coaching and work his way up the ladder of opportunity.
“That’s why I wanted to start off with the youth kids,” Kingsley said. “I’ve worked freestyle with older kids during J’s camps, so I wanted to try to work with younger kids and see where I truly want to end up coaching. I know for college you have to be one of the top coaches in the country, but high school I think would definitely be a good fit for me.”
Outside of coaching, Kingsley isn’t locked in on career goals for the future. He currently plans on going to graduate school after taking a year off. Using his degree in kinesiology, he is interested in going into occupational therapy or physical therapy.
He will stay in the area and continue coming to Gopher matches to watch his teammates and younger brother, Brandon, compete but it will feel different not being around the team daily.
“We’re a tight-knit family so I’m going to miss being around them every single day,” Kingsley said. “I’ll still be living around here so I’ll be able to see them, but it’s going to be weird not being in the room with them every day and not seeing what they’re going through.”
His time in the Gopher program has provided Kingsley with plenty of lessons that he can bestow upon the next generation of wrestlers he will coach, including a multitude of Robinson’s quotes, some of which he plans on using with his students.
Some of those lessons will also help Kingsley going forward on his own path.
“Each day is a grind in itself. It’s always hard work whether you’re lifting or running or wrestling. You always have to put in your best,” Kingsley said. “The hard work we put in is going to pay off in the future. We have the same mindset in a job that we do in the wrestling room. We’re going to work as hard as we can no matter what.”
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