Interview with State Champion Mickey Griffith of Des Moines Lincoln

By G. Wyatt Schultz for The Predicament

Do you have any family who wrestled before you? How did they do?
My brother Tad Griffith is the only person in my family who wrestled before me. He placed at state two times and got injured his senior year coming in ranked second under Nelson Brands.

Did you catch on to wrestling quickly or was it a gradual process?
I caught onto wrestling pretty quickly. My first year started out rough but got a lot better throughout the year winning some tournaments, and having lots of fun.

Did you wrestle in a club growing up, and if you did, how would you describe your experience with the club?
I have always wrestled in clubs. I've always been a bit bigger than other people my age and experience, so going out and finding clubs was hard, but i have found good people and partners along the way.
What are a couple memorable moments from youth/JH wrestling?
My most memorable moment was going 0-2 at Tulsa nationals my 8th grade year after cutting a lot of weight. It motivated me to become a better wrestler, since that feeling is not good.
Who were your wrestling heroes growing up?
My wrestling heroes were Tony Ramos and David Taylor. They both wrestle with intensity and were successful
How did you finish at state tournaments as a youth?
I only placed two times never winning it. I got 7th my sixth grade year, and 3rd my eighth grade year.
Was there ever a point in your career where you noticed yourself jumping levels and making improvements?
Between 7th grade and 8th grade I noticed a lot of improvement, from not qualifying to getting 3rd was big for me. Then from freshman to sophomore year, I went from not qualifying to winning state.
Who were some of your toughest competitors in HS?
Everyone I wrestle is a tough competitor, I can never relax on anyone,  Everyone is there to beat me and everyone is there to become the best.
Who did you have the best battles with?
My best battles have been with Ryan Plummer, Ashton Barker, and Logan Neils. These people pushed me to the end of a match, and that is always a good match.
What is your favorite style of wrestling, Folkstyle, Freestyle or Greco-Roman?
My favorite style is folkstyle, I like to get on top and ride and turn people.
What are your wrestling goals for the upcoming high school season?
Go undefeated and take it one match at a time, obviously winning state would be great but i need to improve more.
What are some of your favorite tournaments?
The Independence Cliff keen Invitational and the IHSAA state tournament are amazing and bring good competition.
What was it like for you at the Grand March before the state tournament?
I was in shock, but I had my friends around me and lots of people to help me not be uncomfortable.
You were state champion this year, the first for Lincoln since 2003, what kind of reaction did you get when you got back to school?
I became the popular person, I had teachers coming up to me congratulating me, I had people I had never met congratulating me. The atmosphere was awesome and I want to bring more of it to Lincoln.
How would you describe your wrestling style? Who would you compare yourself to?
I'd describe myself as a technician, someone like a college and high school David Taylor, long and loves to get to his offense quick.
Do you have any regrets involving wrestling that you want to make up as a senior?
I want to work harder and perform better, become the most dominant wrestler in the state, and if i can, even further.
What other sports do you play and how have you done at them?
I do not play any other sports now, I used to play baseball and I would say I was decent but never great.
What are some of your hobbies besides wrestling? And what is a favorite memory?
I love to go to Crossfit and play video games, and a good memory is meeting the people I have met.
What is some of the best advice you ever received, and who gave you that advice?
The best advice I have ever received is that I can only control how much fight I have. You can never teach someone how to have heart and fight but you can teach them how to wrestle. My dad gave me this advice about three years ago.
Do you have any advice for up and coming wrestlers?
Work as hard as you can now so you can reap the benefits later, it might suck but it all becomes worth it.
Who were some of the most influential coaches you worked with?
All of my coaches are influential to me. I'm constantly surrounded by good people, whether that's a good parent, a good coach, or just an in general good person. They all want me to succeed and they influence me to become better as a person before an athlete.
What are your college plans? Is wrestling in your future, whether it be competing or coaching?
I would love to wrestle in college, it has been my goal to wrestle for a top team in the country and win big matches.
Lincoln wrestling is on the rise, what is the future for Des Moines Lincoln Wrestling?
 I believe that Des Moines Lincoln has a lot of potential, we are getting the good and right people in our room to coach everyone.  If everyone shows up and works hard, I believe we can do some damage in the next few years.  Hopefully we can get back to how it was when my coach was in high school.