Jackson Walters officially part of Jamestown century club
Jackson Walters, a senior at Jamestown High School, recently earned his 100th career win as a wrestler.
JAMESTOWN — Jackson Walters may be the wrestler to beat this year, but even with an undefeated record, the Jamestown High School senior is still as humble as ever.
Maybe it's because of the daily shellackings he's subjected to in the Blue Jay wrestling room.
"I have a really good training core — especially Jason Anderson who I wrestle against a lot," Walters said. "One thing you can't do in wrestling is take someone for granted because if you have an off day you can lose easily. Having (Anderson) as a partner beating me in the room helps me reach higher levels than I could have ever done without him."
Walters is one of eight seniors competing this year for the Blue Jays. All eight seniors began competing with Anderson in early elementary school.
"I was the club coach for this group of kids so I have been with them since their first practice in first grade," Anderson said.
"When Jason comes into the high school room to coach, he always jokes that we started this right after we joined wrestling," Walters said. "He has helped to progress our techniques as we have continued in our wrestling careers."
Anderson wrestled at Carrington High School and the University of North Dakota from 1988 to 1994. He's the current head coach of the Blue Jay club team and also an assistant coach for the high school squad.
"Jackson is a natural competitor who strives to gain knowledge in order to be successful," Anderson said. "Like all of his other coaches would tell you, he is as coachable an athlete that you will find. He is a joy to coach and it has been a pleasure to watch him succeed."
Walters is currently 8-0 in the West Region and 19-0 overall. Last weekend, following a win over Century's Grant Carlson, Walters became the most recent Blue Jay to earn 100 career wins.
"On the wall, we (have a photo) of everyone who had 100 wins," Walters said."(It) was always a goal but I didn’t know if I would be able to make it after having injuries and a shortened season my sophomore year.
"After I heard (that I had made it) I thought it was cool I was in a select group of people in Jamestown wrestling."
Walters' current career-win total stands at 103. As a team, the Blue Jays are ranked fourth in the state with a WDA record of 5-3 while overall the Jays are 8-5.
Besides one uncle, Walters is the only member of his family who made the decision to wrestle instead of play hoops for the Jays during the winter months.
"My first memories were mostly going to tournaments when I was in elementary school having fun competing not caring if I lost or won and then going to gas stations after to grab an ice cream with my mom or dad," Walters said. "Since I didn't care if I won or lost, the people in wrestling were a big part of why I stayed when I was younger. Being around all my friends and the competition drew me even closer."
Walters wrestled for the Jamestown club all the way through elementary school and then decided to join the junior high team. The junior high season lasted only a couple of months and after that wrapped, Walters began wrestling for the club team again.
Or at least that's what he did until eighth grade.
"I first started for the varsity team halfway through my eighth grade year after my middle school season was over," Walters said. "My first match was in Minot where they dropped this big spotlight down. I was pretty nervous being a younger kid on the team and was given the role of not getting pinned to go and help the team save points.
"My match ended up going to overtime where I ended up losing but it gave me confidence that I would be able to compete at the high school level," he said.
Walters was tagged as the Jays' starting 126-pounder back when he was an eighth grader. He went 2-2 his first varsity season.
A year later, Walters was the Jays' starting 145-pounder and finished the regular season split at 5-5, recording a 2-1 record in pins, a 3-2 record by decision. His Achilles heel was the major decisions where he went 0-2 for the season.
Despite battling some injuries his sophomore year, Walters ended the 2020-21 conference season with a 5-2 record. He earned three wins by a pin and went a perfect 1-0 in major decision matches. He was only pinned once and was 0-1 in decisions.
The big jump for Walters came between his sophomore and junior seasons.
The Jays' starting 170-pounder ended the conference season at a perfect 9-0. Walters finished the state runner-up in the 170-pound weight class last season. Walters lost by a 10-6 decision to Bismarck Legacy's Draken Strugelmeyer in the state championship match. Walters had topped Strugelmeyer by one point two weeks before the state tournament kicked off.
Walters was one of five semifinalists at the state level last year. Last season, was the Jays' first time being named state-runners-up of the individual tournament in 25 years.
"Last year's finish helped push me to strive for more," Walters said. "I wasn’t able to finish when I had the opportunity last year and I don’t want that to repeat individually.
"A goal of mine (this year) is to finish on top of the podium which is probably a goal for most people I wrestle against," he said. "I want to end my wrestling career with my teammates putting our names down as one of the greatest teams in Jamestown history."
The Jays were the No. 1 team entering the season as they were the only team in the entire state to not graduate anyone in 2022. A slew of injuries knocked the Jays down to the fourth-best team in the state but since Jan. 12, the Jays have gone 4-1 in conference matches.
This weekend, the Blue Jays are competing at the annual Grand Rapids Tournament in Minnesota. As a team, Jays have competed at two other tournaments — Knights of Columbus and Bismarck Rotary — this season.
Walters said the Blue Jays are looking to get back to the state dual tournament for the fourth-straight year. Last season, the Jays wound up fourth out of the eight Class A teams competing.
"As a team, (last year) has pushed us to strive for more because we were able to see what's possible," Walters said. "Now it is just about going after it."