Senior Spotlight: James Edwards, Johnston

By Joshua Swafford for The Predicament

Senior Spotlight: James Edwards, Johnston

When did you start wrestling? Who introduced you to the sport?
I started in kindergarten because Thomas and I would wrestle and fight at home and our parents thought this would be the best to try wrestling. We started wrestling at the Johnston Wrestling Club.

Do you have any family who wrestled before you? How did they do?
An uncle and a cousin wrestled. Our parents are from Emmetsburg so they came from a big wrestling community.

Did you catch on to wrestling quickly or was it a gradual process?
I caught on fairly quickly but it can be a love-hate relationship in the early years.

What club did you wrestle for growing up and how would you describe your experience with the club?
We started with Anthony Porcelli, The Wrestling Academy, Viking Wrestling Club, and most importantly Ubasa Wrestling Club.

What are a couple memorable moments from youth wrestling?
My brother and I were always close on weight so we faced each other in almost every big tournament and obviously I always beat him.

How did you finish at state tournaments in youth?
I never placed and made it to AAU once and I lost in the blood round.

What are some of your more memorable moments from high school wrestling to this point?
Making it to state my freshman year was one of the happier moments as well as winning districts twice.

How did you finish at the state tournaments you wrestled in at the HS level to this point?
3x state qualifier.

So you’ve made the state tournament 3 times already and have made the blood round all 3 years and we’re heart breaking close to placing this last year... a 10-9 loss to returning placer, Graham Gambrall was how close you were... Is this going to be the year where everything falls into place for you?
Hopefully. I keep working on how to drill and how to practice to get myself through situations and to the next level. This year needs to be the year it all comes together.

Last year there was some bouncing around with your weight... how is that looking this year? Do you feel as if you will have a more stable situation this year with your wrestling weight?
Last year I was wrestling 138 and 145 and was weighing in at around 135, but I was willing to do whatever my team needed me to do. It’s a 14-man operation here at Johnston.

Who were your wrestling heroes growing up? Who are your current wrestling heroes?
Cael and a lot of Iowa State guys were heroes of mine growing up. Thomas Gilman will always be someone I look up to as a hero.

Do you find yourself rooting for, looking up to or having a bias for other wrestlers who are twins? If so, who are some other twins that stick out to you as being your favorites?
I look up to the Brands and all that they’ve achieved and how they competed throughout their years. There’s not a lot of twins currently, but I am friends with the Schrievers and enjoy watching them compete.

Was there ever a point in your career where you noticed yourself jumping levels and making huge strides?
I feel like my freshman and sophomore years at the state tournament were a lot different than Junior year. Freshman year I was just happy to be there and Sophomore year I was working with one hand. This past year I had confidence in myself and believed I could have done a lot better than I did.

Who have been some of your toughest competitors in HS to this point in your career?
Cody Anderson is always a tough competitor and gives it his all.

What was your most memorable state tournament?
Freshman year was the only year I didn’t feel like I let down my coaches and my people, but this past year was memorable seeing my teammates and people I train with everyday have success and watch dreams come true.

What are your wrestling goals for this coming season?
My goal this year it to be wrestling on Saturday night in Wells Fargo.

How would you describe your wrestling style? Who would you compare yourself to?
I would describe my style as funky and one big scramble. I like to try and be a fun wrestler to watch but also stay in good position. Lots of coaches will say my moves are all just junk until their kids get pinned by them.

Do you have any regrets from wrestling that you want to make up for as a Senior?
I don’t believe I have any regrets in the past years. What I have done up until this point I can be proud of but I can’t dwell on what I should have done or what else I could have done.

What other sports do you play and how have you done at them?
I don’t not play any other sports currently. I played baseball and football up until freshman year then I hated losing wrestling matches so I only focused on wrestling after that.

What are some of your hobbies besides wrestling?
I like to ride 4 wheelers, hunt and fish, and also work at Colby’s Lawncare and Landscaping.

What is some of the best advice you ever received?
I’d say the best advice I have received is when the going gets tough, you better get going and Pablo gave me that advice. For me, that means that if times get tough, I better toughen up in wrestling and it translates outside of wrestling and in the real world too.

Do you have any advice for up and coming wrestlers?
Have fun with it and listen to your coaches.

What is your favorite style of wrestling? Folkstyle, Freestyle or Greco?
I like folkstyle because of scrambles.

Who were some of the most influential coaches you worked with?
Robert Roethler and all the Johnston coaches are great as well as Pablo Ubasa and Nate Gallick. What are your college plans?

Is wrestling in your future whether it be competing or coaching?
My college plans are undecided at the moment but I will be coaching the Dragons at some point in my life.

What is the future outlook for Johnston wrestling?
I think the future is very bright for Johnston because of Caleb Helgeson and all the leadership the team has and how we see each other as a family rather than just teammates.