LHS senior making smooth transition from gridiron to wrestling mat
Football has been the only sport that Lawrence High senior E.J. Jewsome has ever known.
That was until last year, when Jewsome decided to try wrestling for the Lions. Jewsome wanted to get involved in another sport during the offseason, and the most physical activity he could think of was wrestling.
Yet, it wasn’t always easy for Jewsome to go from tackling players on the football field to downing athletes on the wrestling mat.
“It was weird, because I was only used to playing football,” Jewsome said. “I kind of liked it. It helped a lot with this past football season. I didn’t know what to expect, but I felt like wrestling really helped.”
But Jewsome, who was a defensive tackle for the Lawrence High football team, only competed in two official duals during his first year in the new sport. The third meet he didn’t wrestle, because the other team didn’t have an athlete in his weight class.
Jewsome only wrestled in meets before winter break for LHS, however, as he spent most of the spring semester focusing on his academics to ensure he could play his final season in both sports.
Still, that didn’t stop Jewsome from putting in the work in practice and displaying progress on the mat.
“Last year, as the season went, he stayed out the whole year practicing,” LHS head coach Pat Naughton said. “He was able to wrestle a couple meets after the high school season and really shined.”
Entering his senior season, Jewsome was ranked in the 285-pound weight class. He has since dropped out of the rankings in his class, though he’s demonstrated improvement from last year.
In the first match of the season, Jewsome pinned his opponent with 1:21 left in the second period during a home dual against Gardner-Edgerton. Jewsome then flashed a huge smile following his first win of the year, which was just the beginning of his final campaign. Jewsome posted a 4-2 record in the first semester for the Lions.
LHS has had six meets thus far, giving Jewsome a chance to wrestle significantly more than he did last year.
“Wrestling is a sport that will make you tough really, really quick,” Jewsome said. “After the first meet in the first year, I was really tired. I had been tired, but I had never been that kind of tired. It was kind of a wake-up call that I wasn’t in as good of shape as I thought I was.”
Jewsome eventually got in better shape, and he continues to learn more about his technique. With postseason competition approximately two months aways, the best is yet to come for the Lawrence senior.
“We haven’t really seen the whole thing of what he can do on the mat,” Naughton said.