Athlete of the week: James Joplin

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contributed by James Joplin

Junior James Joplin holds up a poster for his 100th win. Joplin has wrestled for nine years and most notably finished second in the country at the 113 weight class.

Junior James Joplin is a wrestler for the varsity wrestling team.

What is your favorite thing about wrestling?

“My favorite part about wrestling is that it’s a one-on-one sport. Everything is on yourself,” Joplin said.

When did you start playing the sport?

“I started wrestling in second grade,” Joplin said. “My dad got me into the sport and coached me. He was a wrestler too; he wrestled at Virginia Tech.”

Were you good when you first started?

“When I first started, I wasn’t good. I lost my first two matches at a tournament and was put out of the bracket,” Joplin said. “By my second year wrestling, I got a lot better and won the elementary school state tournament.”

Do you have any post-game rituals?

“I don’t have much of a ritual after a match other than eating a good meal and maybe watching the recording of my match if there is something I want to work on or see how something happened in the match,” Joplin said.

How do you prepare for a good match?

“I prepare for a big match by making sure my weight is in check, and I can make weight and still eat the day of weigh-ins,” Joplin said. “After weigh-ins, I try to get a hard warm-up in to get my body ready and loose for the match. After that, I just stay calm and focus and not let myself get nervous.”

Do you still enjoy the sport years after you started?

“I still enjoy wrestling after all these years. I’ll take breaks from wrestling when there aren’t any competitions,” Joplin said. “This is when I realize how much I still love the sport. I’ll get anxious to get back in the practice room and wrestle. I’ll get the same feeling from being out for any reason.”

How do you manage school and a varsity sport?

“Managing school and wrestling can be hard sometimes, but I try to stay focused after practice to get my homework done and realize school is more important,” Joplin said.

What has been your biggest accomplishment in wrestling?

“My biggest accomplishment in wrestling is last year at sophomore nationals,” Joplin said. “I finished second in the country at 113 (weight class).”