The difference between Squalicum junior wrestler Luke Jordan's first two weeks of the season and his last two is night and day.
Jordan, who wrestles at 120 pounds, sputtered to a 3-5 record to start the year. All he's done the last two weekends is compile a 6-0 record with titles at the sub regional and regional tournaments.
Postseason success is predicated on peaking at the right time. No one is going to want to face the Storm's compact 120-pounder during Mat Classic XXV Friday-Saturday, Feb. 15-16, at the Tacoma Dome.
"He is really dialed in," Storm coach Russell Robinson said in a phone interview. "At (the) Lynden (Tournament) he made it to the finals, and at sub regionals and regionals he won both of them. He has had some up and down matches, but he's peaking at the right time."
Making matters worse for his opponents, Robinson said Jordan could have wrestled even better at the regional tournament. And based on Robinson's account, Jordan agreed.
Even Jordan's goals have changed the last two weeks.
"During camp this summer, we had our wrestlers write letters about what their goals were," Robinson explained. "Luke's goal was to make it to day two of the state tournament. He has kind of adapted that goal of top eight into he needs to be shooting for top four."
Robinson said Jordan has taken awhile to develop his own style. He has a small, compact frame, and has had to learn how to use his body to his advantage. Though Jordan's technique has improved all around this year, Robinson said his success boils down to trust in his abilities.
"I think looking from the outside, he's really started to trust himself more," Robinson said. "He tended to be a little hesitant to take that shot or open himself up, but the last couple weeks he decided it's time to open it up and see what he can do. He's trusting in himself to get the job done and he's saying, 'Hey, I'm going to go for it and trust I can get it.'"
Jordan headlined a group of seven Storm wrestlers who qualified for the state tournament during last weekend's regional tournament in Sedro-Woolley.
Coming off arguably its finest performance of the year, the Storm is heading to a Tacoma Dome venue that sent the team packing after day one last year.
All four of Squalicum's 2012 state wrestlers exited the tournament after going two-and-out.
Robinson said Squalicum is taking the same approach to the state tournament it takes every tournament the Storm's competed in this season.
"It's the same message I've been giving them all year, and that's to take it one match at a time," Robinson said. "Luke has been able to do that quite well. Sometimes they'll get caught up in the bracket, but they need to allow me to do that for them so they can focus on what's in front of them."
Jordan is the only returning state wrestler out of the seven the Storm has competing at the Tacoma Dome this weekend.
Robinson said his team has spent time this week preparing for the challenges wrestling in a large venue can pose.
"We've had a few team meetings this week, because it is so different," said Robinson of the Mat Classic compared to other tournaments. "We're really used to small gyms and small crowds. I've been relying on guys like Luke and Aaron (Saunders), guys who have been to state before, to tell what the whole process is going to be like from when you weigh in to when you step on the mat."
Jordan will be joined by teammates Josh Pratt (106 pounds), Anthony Krause (106), Spencer Wallace (113), Kyle Stallo (182), Patrick Schjelderup (285) and Saunders (152) when the Storm begin their state tournament Friday.
Reach Andrew Lang at email@example.com or call 360-756-2862.
WRESTLING STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
When: 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 15-16
Site: Tacoma Dome
Reach ANDREW LANG at firstname.lastname@example.org or call ext. 862.