Coming into the 2021-22 wrestling season, Jake Woodley is in a good spot. After placing 6th last year in NCAA’s, he’s ready for his second junior year to be able to come out and improve on last season’s successes. He has started the season off with a bang, going 7-0 with a win over Michigan’s Patrick Brucki and a win over Kordell Norfleet from Arizona State. Now, Woodley has his eyes on something bigger: a National Championship.
After doing well in the Michigan State Open, Woodley was sitting pretty and feeling good at how he’s looking this year. “I had a good first tournament. Got a couple good wins. So I’m feeling pretty good.”
Woodley goes on to talk about how he prefers these tournaments as opposed to dual meets. Jake Woodley embraces the unknown of a tournament and loves the uncertainty behind it.
“It’s kind of nice not having to over think about one match. Going into a dual meet you have to worry about wrestling one kid. In a tournament you don’t know how it’s going to be seeded. Even if you do know how it’s going to be seeded you only know your first match. It’s actually kind of nice because you don’t get in your head about it. But wrestling four matches in a day is kind of tough. I was pretty sore for a couple days.”
Jake Woodley and Oklahoma Wrestling
Going into the 2021-22 season, Woodley is feeling his age in his knees. Jokingly, he says that with the added season due to COVID, he’s already feeling the age difference with some of his teammates.
“This is supposed to be my last year. I feel kind of old. Some of the guys are 18. I hosted some recruits this summer and they were like 17 and I’m 22. I was feeling it a little bit this year.”
Later in, Woodley says that he’s not feeling that pressure of a leader in the locker room. He says that it keeps him from making bad decisions.
“I wouldn’t say it’s pressure, but it is something I think about. I’m obviously focused on myself but I’ve got to set an example and not do dumb stuff.”
Oklahoma had a great year last season. Winning the Big 12’s, Woodley and the rest of the Sooner wrestling team have high expectations going into the new season. In addition to repeating in the Big 12, Jake Woodley hopes to do even better at the NCAA’s.
“That’s a big goal of mine. But we won Big 12’s last year and obviously we’re trying to repeat that. We got some nice rings and that was pretty cool to win that. Hopefully we can win Big 12’s again. Other goals are top ten, top five at NCAA’s. We’re a really good team this year so we can make a run at some good accomplishments.”
And of course, there’s a National Championship for Jake Woodley. In his way is fellow 197er AJ Ferrari. The two wrestled three times last year with Ferrari winning 8-4, 4-1, and 3-2. Woodley believes that it’s close and he has the chance to close that gap and dethrone the defending champion.
“We wrestled three times last year and every single time we wrestled close. It’s definitely not unattainable for me to win that match. I’ve just got to wrestle my best match.”
With the wrestling season underway, Jake Woodley has high hopes. Only the hard work and time will tell how Woodley comes out of his junior year.