Prep wrestling: Jensen wastes little time gaining respect
West Jordan • To borrow a baseball term, Herriman freshman wrestler Jaron Jensen pitched a perfect game.
Twenty-seven up, 27 down.
Not a bad introduction to the varsity level, huh?
Jensen, who has spent a decade dominating opponents on the mat, ran his mark to 27-0 last weekend as he helped the Mustangs to a third-place finish in the 16-team Jaguar Duals at West Jordan High.
"I thought I'd do well," Jensen said. "Not as well as I have so far, but I thought I'd do pretty good. The key has been not caring who I'm wrestling, just going out and beating whoever it is.
"I don't really feel intimidated. I know I can beat anyone. But I do feel a little nervous now and then."
He did just that in early December when he claimed the 113-pound title at the Layton tournament. Jensen entered the week ranked second in Class 4A at 113 pounds behind Maple Mountain freshman Taylor LaMont and is one of four freshmen on a young and upcoming Herriman team.
The Mustangs, who placed 11th at the state meet a year ago, are ranked in the top five midway through the 2012-13 season.
"We're very young right now," Herriman coach Steve Bowdren said. "We are building up that belief that we can compete with the best. That's a big thing for us right now."
Among the underclassmen is junior Chandler Strand, the defending state champ at 106 pounds who is ranked second in 4A at 120 pounds. Strand also finished the West Jordan tournament undefeated, winning all five of his matches.
Jensen said the presence of a state champion at a comparable weight class has helped him transition to the team and push him in practice.
"We have pretty much the same moves," he said. "We work together in the room getting each other better."
Bowdren said the expectations were set high upon Jensen's entry into the program after he competed nationally while growing up.
"Definitely was expecting a lot from him," Bowdren said. "But for a freshman to come in and perform at the level he has, I think it has been a bit of a surprise. He has really excelled. He hates to lose."
Jensen has shown no effects from surgery to repair a torn patella tendon in his right knee. He was perfect in five matches last weekend, including a 12-2 decision that capped a victory against Maple Mountain on Saturday morning.
Box Elder defeated Layton in the final to win the Jaguar Duals.