Nov. 30, 2013
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Terrance Jean-Jacques dangled his toes in the water of big-time college wrestling Nov. 15 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena; he will dive head-first Sunday against Iowa State with the Dan Gable Traveling Trophy at stake.
Jean-Jacques competes at 285 pounds for the University of Iowa. Last week at the Iowa City Duals, he went 3-0 with a fall, beefing his season record to 8-2 with three pins.
"He has come a long way since getting on campus (in August)," UI head coach Tom Brands said. "We certainly need the depth there; he has done a good job. We like him."
No one is mistaking that when 100-percent, the starting heavyweight for the Hawkeyes is Bobby Telford, a two-time national qualifier and an All-American as a freshman. Telford is ranked No. 3 in the nation after opening the season with five consecutive wins by fall. But after Telford tweaked a knee in practice, Jean-Jacques filled in.
"For the first dual meets it went well, pretty-much what I expected," Jean-Jacques said. "It was good to get the first one out of the way, work on some things I needed to work on, and get ready for this weekend."
"You focus on what you're doing and on your wrestling and not the fans. I have wrestled in environments where fans don't necessarily like the incoming teams. I'm going to focus on what I'm doing and whatever happens, happens."
"On my recruiting visit the coaches talked to me about the Iowa-Iowa State dual and how it gets sold out and it is one of their biggest rivalry matches," Jean-Jacques said. "I'm guessing it is going to be a good atmosphere with a lot of fans."
At this time last year, Jean-Jacques was enrolled at Rutgers University where he saw action in a couple open tournaments before transferring to a junior college near his home in Haverill, Mass.
"Originally I wanted to come to the University of Iowa, but I wasn't getting the scholarship opportunities, so I got my grades up," Jean-Jacques said. "I had the chance to come here again last year and I decided to take it."
Jean-Jacques was national runner-up at the 2011 Preps Tournament after going 62-0 and winning a state championship at Governor's Academy in Byfield, Mass. He captured his first state championship in 2010 at Haverill, Mass., and his third state title in Pennsylvania in 2012 competing for Wyoming Seminary.
The University of Iowa appealed to Jean-Jacques because of wrestling, but also because of its business school. Calling it one of his dreams, he wants to open a wrestling camp/school/club for young children.
But there are on-mat dreams to fulfill first. Jean-Jacques desires to cement a spot in the Hawkeye lineup, become a collegiate All-American, and win a national championship.
"There is a lot I want to do, I just have to work at it," he said.
That work continues Sunday in hostile Hilton Coliseum.
"You focus on what you're doing and on your wrestling and not the fans," Jean-Jacques said. "I have wrestled in environments where fans don't necessarily like the incoming teams. I'm going to focus on what I'm doing and whatever happens, happens."
The Hawkeyes (3-0, ranked No. 4) have won nine in a row in the series and own an all-time series record of 61-16-2. Iowa and Iowa State set the national attendance record (15,955) inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Dec. 6, 2008.
The Iowa-Iowa State wrestling rivalry introduced the Dan Gable Traveling Trophy in 2010, representing Iowa State's two-time NCAA Champion and Iowa's 15-time NCAA championship coach. The Hawkeyes have won every meeting since its inception.