EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


February 19, 2013

End of the line?

With focus on football, Haverhill's Jean-Jacques wants to cap mat career with a bang

St. John’s Prep senior Corey Jean-Jacques has some unfinished business this week.

In what may or may not be his final year on the mat, the highly successful heavyweight from Haverhill is focused on his second of two season goals.

“I wanted to win the (dual-meet) states as a team and we did that and I wanted to win (individual) states and qualify for New England,” said Jean-Jacques, who admits that football is his sport of choice and what he’ll specialize in college. “I didn’t even place at state last year.”

The odds are heavily in favor of Jean-Jacques winning or at least placing high in his weight class at the Division 1 state meet. He enters with a 46-2 record on the season as well as an impressive 126-29 career mark that would be more inflated if he hadn’t missed much of his sophomore season due to injury.

At just 216 pounds, Jean-Jacques understandably struggled against bigger and more experienced wrestlers as a freshman. But he grew to over 300 pounds after his sophomore year when he missed the football season because of a broken foot and, since losing the weight and getting back in shape, has gotten much stronger.

Now, as a 272-pounder, Jean-Jacques is as strong as anyone and often quicker. His only loss on the season prior to an upset in Saturday’s sectional finals was a 3-1 decision to Mt. Anthony All-American Jesse Webb.

St. John’s Prep coach Manny Costa credits Jean-Jacques’ combination of strength and quickness for his rise to an elite heavyweight, but he has also become a smarter, more technical wrestler thanks to older brother Terrance, who was an unbeaten New England champion at Haverhill High.

Last year, while taking a year off from school, Terrance worked out with Corey almost daily. He then went off to Rutgers on a partial scholarship but, after a disagreement with the coach, he left school and is in the process of transferring (with Iowa and Cornell top possibilities). So he’s back working out with his younger brother.

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