Spring break was off to a great start for CAS junior Brandon Jones after he was named the University Athletic Association Athlete of the Week for the fifth time in his career on March 17. Just a few days earlier, he finished third overall at the NCAA Division III Wrestling Championship in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Originally from Iowa, Jones transferred to NYU from Iowa State University after his freshman year. He joined the team for the spring portion of the 2012-2013 season and, while his wrestling may not have shown it, the transition was a difficult one.
“The initial couple months that I got out here were tough being thrown into the city and not knowing anyone,” Jones said. “I am still overwhelmed by some aspects of the city lifestyle such as the pace of life and stress in getting places.”
However, Jones overcame his discomfort and focused on wrestling.
“I do enjoy the energy of the city and how determined everyone is here,” Jones said. “It kind of molds you into a person that is focused on achieving your goals.”
Jones said being mentally prepared is something he honed in on this year. Preparing both physically and mentally gave him an edge over his opponents and helped contribute to his 23-3 record this season.
“I think the most critical aspect of wrestling is having an edge when it comes to mental toughness,” Jones said. “If you can go out there and mentally break your opponent, you are going to win.”
A self-proclaimed mama’s boy, Jones thanks his parents for his interest in wrestling. In fourth grade, after his parents decided he had too much energy for them to handle and needed to channel it elsewhere, he started wrestling.
“I was always rough and aggressive as a little kid,” he said. “So I naturally grabbed hold on the physical aspect of wrestling.”
Jones has gone on to earn All-American honors two years in a row and has competed at Nationals both years as well, finishing fifth in last year’s tournament and third in this year’s. Despite all he has accomplished in his wrestling career, he is still gunning towards his ultimate goal of being a national champion.
“Stepping in and becoming a two-time All-American has been the most rewarding part of my career here [at NYU], although I still am working towards a national title,” Jones said.
Next year will be his last chance to win that coveted title, and he is already looking forward to the 2014-2015 season. There will be many returning starters, and Jones said the team has the ability to shake up expectations and surprise spectators.
With a final statement, Jones wished to clear up a common misconception about wrestlers.
“No, our cauliflower ear is not contagious.”
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, April 3 print edition. Brittany Yu is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.