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Jackson former state wrestling champ prepares himself for 2021 season

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Ashton Jackson, a junior at LPHS, is headed into his next wrestling season prepared and ready for another unforgettable few months.

Jackson took the State title last year in the 106 weight class as a sophomore. He is the first wrestler to win a State title at LaPorte in about three decades, with the last being in 1994 won by Matt Graham. 

“I have been looking forward to it since I was really little and going to that, watching it, and being awarded my first state title, I just have two more to chase down,” Jackson said.

At State, he wrestled Liam Kruegar on Friday night during the first round, then Nathan Smith, followed by Toby Billerman in the semi-finals, landing him a spot in the finals, where he went up against Evan Dickey in his final match. 

Even after winning at State, Jackson has stayed humble and doesn’t want to focus on this single achievement but move onto getting his next.

“I think he’s kept a good attitude after winning State, despite people saying that he would be rude or cocky. He’s super nice and one of the most genuine people you’ll meet,” Alyvia Ohime, senior wrestler said.

Jackson started out wrestling at LPHS when he was young at the little kids club, a club he now volunteers his time to, to teach kids like he once was. Going into middle school was when he first started traveling around the country. During those years he didn’t have much of a winning streak, which just made him want to try even harder. His work ethic has never dulled. 

“He already puts hours into wrestling with the high school with other groups. He’ll stay late, come early, and then volunteers to help with little kids, too,” Ohime says.

Jackson is going into this season with ambition and determination to get another State title.  Alongside him are his coaches who have played a special part in his career, keeping him motivated and guiding him to success. He has been preparing all summer by working out at home and practicing as much as he can in preparation for this year. He has made tremendous progress from competing all around the country against strong opponents. 

“I have noticed he put the time in on the off season, and now we just need to go to work,” head wrestling coach Louis Kuzdas said.

Jackson plans on competing at college level one day and aspires to be a four-time national champion. Though he is unsure about where he wants to go to college, he has ensured himself the ability to go somewhere that will push him to be his best.

With a State championship under his belt and lofty expectations weighing on him, Jackson is ready for another memorable season. Yet, even with all the hype and notoriety, Jackson’s humble nature and servant leadership makes him a role model for all Slicers. 

Stop by and watch Jackson and the Slicers wrestle in Slicer Gym on Wednesday, January 12 and Wednesday, January 19 at 6:30 p.m.

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