March 17, 2016
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As a young boy, Jet Mika was the kid who used to shovel snow in front of the church sidewalk. A couple years ago, he suffered a major back injury and endured the surgery and has now recovered fully to become a Minnesota State High League Wrestling State Tournaments finalist. Jet recently finished fifth in the state tournament at the Xcel Energy Center, and he wants even more.
Coming into the weekend, Jet didn’t think he would get as far as he did in the state tournament. “To be honest, I didn’t think I would place, it hadn’t even crossed my mind,” he said. “I was too worried about other things. My first match was against a kid who was a two-time state champ before, so I was worried about that.”
Finishing fifth at the state tournament is no small accomplishment. It’s pretty extraordinary, especially coming from an inner city school in the east side of St. Paul. “It’s an amazing feeling to place where I did because there are so many good wrestlers there, but I feel like I can accomplish even more than I already have,” Jet said.
While Jet put a lot of hard work into becoming the wrestler he is today, he thanks his coaches for a lot of the things they did for him. They would stay after hours to help Jet get in all the work possible, which is something all athletes who want to be successful need, someone who will help them go to their highest potential possible. But it goes farther than that, it’s someone who believes in them.
“Hard work pays off,” said Jet. “It all comes down to how much hard work you want to put in. I promise you if you put in the work, things will show up. I promise.”
Jet plans on following that same motto. He’s going to go right back into wrestling, this time freestyle, which isn’t as organized as high school wrestling is, but it will help Jet get better by helping him perfect his moves and increase his endurance and stamina on the mat.
Senior wrestler Andrew Haldeman had high praise for Jet. “Having him in the room is really helpful to all the younger guys; to be able to see that level of talent and that work ethic everyday is really beneficial,” he said. “The advantages to having a guy like that in the room is that he makes everyone around him better. When you wrestle Jet, you know he’s going to beat you somehow. You just have to learn to stop what he does, and that helps yourself.”
Having someone with that talent level doesn’t only help younger guys; it also helps athletes like Andrew who are a class higher than Jet. “I try to mold my moves after Jet; knowing what he does and why he does it makes the match that much tougher and improves mental strength,” he said.