When the going gets tough, the tough get going…words that certainly are appropriate when spoken in a wrestling room where athletes rigorously train for their next match. For Jayden Moore, a sophomore at Tahlequah, it’s a phrase that has become a personal creed for success, on and off the mat.
After reaching the Class 5A state meet a year ago wrestling at 160 pounds, Moore left the event focused on changing the outcome.
“I didn’t get done what I needed to get done at the state tournament last year. Watching the guys stand on the podium that I had beaten the week before at regionals was gut wrenching,” recalled the Tigers 182-pound wrestler this season. “I decided that day to never let myself get there again. That has been my drive ever since. “
Implementing a personal style to score as many points as he can as fast as possible, Moore, who has posted a 22-2 record heading into the final weeks before the regional championships where Tahlequah will compete in Class 6A, understands his responsibility for determining the final outcome.
“Losing is the toughest part of wrestling. There is no one to blame but yourself and that’s tough,” explained Moore. “I try to stay on the attack and so far it has been working.”
Wrestling since he was four years old, Moore credits the opportunity to get extra training for his success on the high school mats.
“I grew up wrestling in the youth club over in Stilwell with Mike Sheets and Kevin Hendrix,” he said. “Growing up there in a tough room with high expectations has definitely helped me develop into the wrestler I am today. It has also played a part in the person I am.”
Team sports such as football, another sport where Moore competes playing linebacker for the Tigers, play four 12-minute quarters to determine a winner. Knowing that a wrestling match consists of three two-minute periods, Jayden Moore draws fuel for fire while recalling the advice he learned training in the wrestling room.
“When I was little I would get really nervous before my matches,” Moore mentioned when asked about his pre-match psych. “Mike Sheets told me ‘this thing is gonna be over in six minutes and someone is gonna win and someone is gonna lose. Which one do you want to be?’ As I got older I realized that’s all there is to it and I want to win. All I can do is trust in the work I’ve put in and focus on getting the job done.”
And for Jayden Moore, the approach is score fast, score often and use his talents to achieve his goal to be standing at the top of the Class 6A medal stand at season’s end.