Lincoln County High School senior Jordan Free started wrestling his freshman year. He did fairly well for a beginner, placing second in the Southern Nevada Region, but came just short of placing in the top four at state. By his sophomore year, he really started to love the sport and placed first in the region and second at state.
But it wasn’t until his junior year that Free really started to get noticed. He placed first in four tournament championships and placed second in three others. Suddenly college coaches were taking an interest, and he thought his dream of college wrestling just might happen.
Free was given the Most Outstanding Wrestler Award at the Milford Invitational. He placed first in the region, then suffered a shock loss in the second round to a wrestler he had beaten before. Nevertheless, Free ended up wrestling his way back up to finish in third place. Awarded the 2A Southern Nevada Wrestler of the Year Award, he was invited to wrestle at the National Tournament in Iowa, which was later canceled due to COVID-19.
Free finished his junior year with a record of 38-8. The last tournament he attended before the start of pandemic restrictions was the 2020 USA Southern Nevada Championships, where he placed first, winning by a TF, MD and pin. During lockdown, Free purchased a mat and took it to the gym every morning. Whenever possible, he and teammate Hagen Boyce worked out with coach Jared O’Mealy’s assistance.
In the summer of 2020, Free was one of 50 high school wrestlers picked to wrestle at a camp put on by Penn State head coach Cael Sanderson’s brother, Kyler Sanderson. Meanwhile, college coaches continued to contact him. He went on a recruiting trip to Virginia to meet with some coaches and attend a prospect camp. While Roanoke College was ready to have him sign, Free was still weighing his options. He had college recruiting calls via Zoom and received emails and texts every day from different college coaches.
Throughout lockdown, Free wrestled in tournaments in Arizona and Utah, states that were more open than Nevada. These tournaments ended up being national tournaments, as kids from all over the U.S. were also looking for any place that was open. Free did well, going 2-2 in most tournaments.
In spite of not getting a senior wrestling season, Free’s determination and hard work paid off when he received offers from more than ten schools, including some D2, D3, NAIA and JCs. He knew he wanted to serve a mission right away for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, though, so when the coach of Colorado School of the Mines told him he needed to come wrestle for a year first and then go on his mission, Free knew it wasn’t right.
Finally, he decided to commit to Southern Virginia University. He is excited to wrestle for the school and will attend starting in the fall of 2023, after he returns from a Jacksonville, Fla., mission.