Troy High graduate enjoying first season leading wrestling program
February 6, 2013
TROY — There is a new, familiar face leading the Troy High wrestling program these days.
Jon Thomas has taken over the reins for a program that starred for close to a decade ago.
“I am very proud to be a Troy Colt again,” he said. “Although the wrestling team has been down the past few seasons, they have a long history of being one of the best teams in the area. I hope to restore that tradition.”
Thomas finished All-State twice at Troy High and was a county champion before graduating in 2006 and heading to Michigan State University to wrestle.
He takes over the program from long-time coach Gary Harland. Thomas helped the team as an assistant in years past and was the Boulan Park Middle School coach last season.
“Coach Harlan has taught me a lot,” Thomas said. “He is a great coach, teacher and promoter of the sport. I carry a lot of what I learned from him into the wrestling room, but also have coaching styles of my own that I use. As a rookie coach, I regularly go to him for coaching advice.”
Senior captain Jeff Jackson said it’s been a seamless change.
“It’s been a really good transition. (Thomas’) different style helps different people,” Jackson said. “He really knows what it takes to go to states and be successful. I also liked that he wrestled in college and received college coaching.”
The Colts were 2-3 in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division at press time, led by Jackson’s 27-5 record at 112 pounds.
Thomas called Jackson one of the most dominant wrestlers in his weight class in the area.
“He has really come into his own this season,” Thomas said.
Sophomore Kevin Thomas is also having a notable season. He’s 27-9 at 103 pounds and finished sixth in the Oakland County Tournament.
“Kevin has been wrestling since a very young age, and he is very comfortable on the mat,” the coach said.
As a team, Jon Thomas said his wrestlers have made major improvements, especially in the area of team bonding.
“Although it is perceived that wrestling is an individual sport, it is important to remember that they are part of a team,” he said. “When the wrestlers recognize this … it makes their whole wrestling experience a more positive one.”
Jon Thomas added that the group picks up new moves rather quickly, but needs to make smarter decisions on the mat.
“We often give up points and pins too easily, contributing to team losses,” he said. “This will improve with experience and mat time. We have a very young team and a ton of potential to progress.”