The Union Recorder

January 24, 2014

UR ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Bush shows hard work pays off

Steven Cary
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — It is not often a prep wrestler gets recognized in the spotlight, but it is hard to not recognize an athlete when they win — a lot.

This week’s Athlete of the Week is Jordan Bush, a junior wrestler at local John Milledge Academy who most recently was awarded third overall at a tough Trinity Invitational in Dublin, hosted by Trinity Christian School.

Bush not only earned second runner-up honors at the meet in Dublin, but has also racked up seven wins, seven pins and seven take downs in his last three competitions including a meet at Piedmont and the state dual meet.

“It’s absolutely huge for the program,” JMA head coach Sean McConnell said. “It’s big for our sport because wrestling isn’t the dream sport, so it means a lot to us as wrestlers to get recognized.

“I’m glad he’s getting recognized for his work,” the proud head coach added. “It’s nice for these kids to know if they put in the hard work, they’ll get the reward. If they work hard they can earn athlete of the week.”

Having been a part of the inaugural season for Trojan wrestling, Bush has come a long way compared to where he was as a first-year wrestler.

“The biggest progression honestly is his mentality,” McConnell said. “He’s a phenomenal athlete, but last year he lacked a little bit of confidence.”

Dropping down in weight classes from heavyweight to 223 appears to be just what the junior needed.

“Being in a smaller weight class has given him more confidence on the mat,” McConnell said. “He had the tools last year-the experience, but he’s turned that around. The biggest thing is that he now has the confidence to go out there and win.”

The renewed confidence found in the lower weight class certainly helped Bush in the Trinity Invite, as he competed with some of the best wrestlers in the area, including the eventual winner from Tatnall.

McConnell recalls the eventual winner being slightly worried about Bush after watching the Trojan wrestler take down his opponent in the first match.

“He knew he had something to worry about after watching the first match,” McConnell said.

While Bush did not take home top honors from the invitational, McConnell admits he learned to work through his game plan and surprised himself with a third place performance.

“He’s had a lot of success working through his style,” McConnell said. “It surprised him more than it surprised me. I knew he had the physical tools to do it, and I noticed a leadership change leading up to that as well.”

Displaying the willingness to listen, learn and apply, Bush as a junior has already left an impression on his coaches, showing that hard work does pay off.

“Jordan’s a tough kid, but he’s also one of those kids you love coaching,” McConnell said. “As a coach you appreciate someone who is coachable and someone you can trust. It’s paying off for him.”