Muskingum Wrestler Leads Team to Former Glory

Cameron James
Muskingum Wrestler Leads Team Back to Former Glory

Jordan Burkholder, 20, has the winningest record for the past two season at Muskingum University as a varsity wrestler.

He has accumulated a 42-24 record with the Muskies while wrestling at the 125 lbs. weight class and when asked what has set him apart from the others he said “I’d say just the time I put in, I get extra workouts in, I typically workout outside of practice once every day. In the offseason, last summer I was the only one on the team to go to University Nationals.”

Prior to Burkholder’s arrival on campus the Muskingum wrestling team had been struggling, they came in last in their conference during the 2014-2015 season according to oac.org.
However in 2014 things started to change for the better as Muskingum hired former NCAA Division III National Runner-Up Zach Mizer as their head coach.

Burkholder was an accomplished high school wrestler with multiple state qualifications and even a state placement but during his recruiting process he only ever even considered one school, Muskingum University.

When asked why he chose Muskingum he said “While here [Muskingum University], with Coach Mizer, I knew right away we got along well and I liked the campus and it’s only about an hour away from home which was also a big deciding factor.”

During his freshman season he had 17-14 record which was actually more wins than all the other wrestlers records combined from the previous season.
When asked how he feels about coach Zach Mizer Burkholder said “ I think he’s a great coach we share very similar goals and when we talked for the first time we both made it clear that the goal was a national title, we didn’t even talk about any goal less than that because that is the only goal.”
The sophomore expects nothing less than an NCAA National Championship.

He credits his success to the hard work he puts in outside of the wrestling season, all the countless hours that nobody sees. During the summers Burkholder wrestles and trains with the NCAA Division I wrestling team Ohio University.

Muskingum University wrestler Jordan Burkholder poses for a picture before his daily workout. Burkholder finished the past season with a 25-10 record.
Muskingum University wrestler Jordan Burkholder poses for a picture before his daily workout. Burkholder finished the past season with a 25-10 record.

During his 2016-2017 campaign his hard work paid off as he went 25-10, was named 2nd team All-OAC and just fell short of national qualification.

Burkholder prides himself in his work ethic, something he credits to his father who he says got him into wrestling in the first place. When asked about his father Burkholder said “He works extremely hard himself he’s an iron worker and I’ve worked with him myself in it and because of this it’s one of the main reasons I’m even in college, he didn’t want me to have to do that for a living the way he had to.”

Burkholder attended Crooksville High school before his time with their wrestling team they only ever had one state placer in program history. Going into Muskingum he embraced the title of underdog, he feels like it takes a lot of the pressure off because other teams don’t expect them to do well.

Aside from individual success Burkholder has helped bring success to his drill partner Toby Warrington who has accumulated an 11-17 record this past season for the team.
Despite wrestling being an individual sport when asked how much he cared about the team’s success as a whole Burkholder stated “Greatly, I want to win a OAC team title as well, the comradery that takes its outstanding and it’s also very rare. It takes a special group of people to win a league title and it shows that everyone has worked hard not just one person.”

He gave praise to many people including his high school coaches Dave Ratliff, Sean Enright and his father.

In the classroom Burkholder is majoring in Education and hopes to one day return to his alma matter Crooksville High School and be a teacher and the wrestling coach.

His roots are very important to him, staying close to home had a huge impact on his decision to go to Muskingum University which is 30 miles from his home town.

As a team captain he feels responsible for the team, he believes that his actions will speak louder than his words. Instead of commanding his teammates what to do he wants to show them what to do, and do it with them. If his teammates see him being successful because of putting in extra work he hopes that they will follow by example and do the same.

The thing he wants most is to at least be an NCAA qualifier if not an All-American or champion, he feels like by accomplishing one of those feats that he can make a significant impact on the wrestling team.

He’s confident this kind of success it will attract more high level recruits to the team. Burkholder still has two seasons of eligibility left with the Muskingum University Wrestling team and has very high expectations for himself and his team.