Everyday Champion -- Jake Gonzales
Feb. 9, 2009
Corvallis, Ore. -
Those of you that ventured by Reser Stadium or the Tommy Prothro Football Complex during late spring and summer might have noticed a group of young men throwing large tires around, hitting them with sledge hammers and lugging cement blocks. No, they aren’t the latest recruits for tire or concrete companies, they are Jim Zalesky’s wrestlers in a typical non-typical offseason workout.
“The first time we heard Coach Z say we are going to Reser Stadium to lift and condition, we all kind of looked at each other in shock,” senior 125-pounder Jake Gonzales said. “It definitely was weird, but after we got into it we liked it. It’s something different; it breaks up the usual routine.”
For Gonzales, a senior from Enumclaw, Wash., attending Oregon State University has definitely not been weird. In fact this exercise and sport science major is on the verge of graduating and reaching his goal.
“I want to continue in wrestling, but as a coach,” Gonzales said. “My goal is to be a physical education teacher in high school and coach.”
Gonzales’ dream is about to become reality with his pending graduation from OSU in June.
Make sure to catch Gonzales’ final home match when the Beavers host Boise State Feb. 15 at 2 p.m. in the home season finale.
More with Jake Gonzales….
Q. Describe Jake Gonzales in a nutshell?
A. A wrestler, hunter, fisherman, competitor, family and friends.
Q. How did you get interested in wrestling?
A. I got interested in the sport in the seventh grade; I actually didn’t even know what wrestling was before then. I had a couple of friends who were in the eighth grade who I thought were pretty cool, so I wanted to be like them. I signed up and ever since I have loved to wrestle. I wasn’t very good at the start, but by my sophomore year I had improved.
Q. Where would you be without wrestling?
A. Wrestling has changed my life; if I didn’t wrestle I don’t know where I would be. I don’t know if I would have attended college; wrestling has been a huge part of my life.
Q. Where do you want to be in 10 years?
A. Hopefully coaching wrestling and being a physical education teacher in high school.
Q. What has been your best experience on the mat at Oregon State?
A. I’ve met a lot of good people and a lot of friends.
Q. When you host a recruit what do you tell them about OSU?
A. The first thing I say to the recruits is we have great facilities – a new practice room, a great coaching staff and it’s a terrific environment. Our team is also really close – it’s like a family. OSU presents an opportunity to be successful and attain your goals.
Q. Where have you changed the most since you first arrived on campus?
A. There have been a lot of areas. I push myself harder on and off the mat. My freshman year wasn’t the greatest academically, but I realized I needed to pick it up.
Q. Who has been the most influential person in your life at OSU?
A. I would say the whole coaching staff has been very influential in my life. They have inspired me to push myself on and off the mat to be better.
Q. What is it like competing for Jim Zalesky?
A. It’s fun, but intense. He expects a lot of out of you on and off the mat and pushes you to be the best.
Q. What does it mean to the team to have a new practice facility (Sports Performance Center)?
A. It’s an awesome facility. We can work out anytime you want, and our locker room is close. It’s a really great facility. Before it was built, we really didn’t even have locker rooms in our old facility (Langton Hall).
Q. Why should the casual wrestling fan come to Gill Coliseum to watch you compete?
A. There is a lot of action and we work hard. We always compete as hard as we can.
Q. What does it mean to you to have a scholarship?
A. “It’s a big deal to have a scholarship to Oregon State; I wasn’t heavily recruited out of high school. I had a couple of other offers, but a high school friend (Ty Watterson) who was already at OSU helped me make my decision.
Q. Why do wrestlers seem like they are such unique athletes?
A. I think wrestlers tend to be closer than maybe other teams – we are always around each other, always practicing against each other. It’s a sport where you are competing alone; there’s no one to blame other than you if you lose. It’s what you do to be successful, how you prepare, how you take care of yourself.
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