By Jeremy McDonald
JEFFERSON, Ore.– The year off has helped further motivate Jefferson’s Jameson Bender and Gage Frost entering this season with the Lions.
Their 2020 campaign’s, leading up to the Covid shutdown, didn’t end the way they wanted. Bender (138) and Frost (126) finished sixth respectively to close out their sophomore and freshman seasons.
“I didn’t do nearly as well as I wanted. I got sick but I finished sixth. I wrestled 126 and I wasn’t physically there that day, I knew I could’ve done better,” Frost, a junior now, said. “It’s really driven me (this year). I was really, really frustrated with how I ended my season my freshman year and I’m bringing that anger into this year.
The duo has been wrestling since their fifth-grade seasons. Bender pointed towards Coach Thomas helping him prepare since Thomas’ arrival in 2019 as his aspirations to close out his prep career going to the State Meet in February and leaving his mark with the program after this season.
“I think I’ve improved the most than I’ve ever had in my entire career. Coach (Troy) Thomas is probably the best coach I’ve ever had,” Bender said. “(This year) I want to make it to State. It’s always been a dream. I want to go in and hopefully win districts and win a couple of matches at State.
“Ever since I could remember, I’ve always seen the Jefferson wrestlers come in there and dominate and go to State. I’ve always dreamed that and I hope I can fulfill that this year.”
Frost’s goal is to make it to the State Meet this year. Putting in the extra work as he sets his goals in placing in the 2A/1A State Meet.
“My goal is definitely to go to State and I’m really hoping to place. To achieve that, I’m putting in extra work everyday. Extra few hours every day after practice. Working out. Going on jogs and doing as much as I can to physically and mentally prepare myself for the season,” Frost said.
Bender will be wrestling at 145 pounds, Frost at 138 this season. Making the move up in weight classes, but still can be training partners in practice to give each other possible different looks entering Match Week this week as the duo will be looked upon to lead the small 2A squad this season.
“It’s going to be big. I’ve never been a leader on the team but this year I could tell some people are looking up to me,” Frost starts. “It’s a pretty crazy year this year especially after last year we didn’t have a season. But I’m really excited. I’m excited for this year.”
The Lions will be at Harrisburg December 3 before hosting the Jefferson WR Invitational December 10. Jefferson will close out the 2021 calendar year at the Stayton Wrestling Tournament in Stayton on December 18 going into Winter Break.