Johnni DiJulius, a redshirt senior on the Ohio State wrestling team, is the Buckeyes' active career wins leader with 111 career triumphs and will head with the rest of his teammates to Iowa City, Iowa this weekend to defend Ohio State's Big Ten Championship. Last year, he finished fourth at 133 lbs.
What was it like to be part of a national championship-winning team last year?
Last season winning NCAAs as a team was incredible. The "glow" of winning it wears off though when you realize that there is still more to do. I did not finish how I would have liked to finish at the NCAAs individually so although winning as a team was amazing, I knew I still had some unfinished business for myself before I graduated.
It meant so much to be a part of that NCAA team last March. Every individual on our team played a role, not just the starters but everyone. From the athletes and coaches, to the managers and behind the scenes people they all had a part in our success. It is my family. Many college students create long lasting friendships through class/clubs/fraternities but on the wrestling team, we go to war with each other twice a day five/six days a week for a cause bigger than us which makes us a family I will have for the rest of my life.
What was your favorite moment from the championships?
My favorite moment from St. Louis is of course the moment we got handed the trophy. But a moment that sticks out as one of the best moments of my life is when I was warming up for my match, and our 184 pounder Kenny Courts was in overtime in the NCAA quarterfinals. He won on a last second takedown securing All-American status and I have never been so happy for someone other than myself in my life. He went through a lot of up and downs during his career and to see him get his hand raised as an All American was one of the greatest moments in St. Louis.
What have been some of your goals this season?
My goals for this season are to keep progressing as the best version of myself i can put on the mat. The season is long and the Big Ten is a grind! There are a lot of up and downs being a Big Ten wrestler and my individual goal is to continue to make the right choices each step of the way whether it's on or off the mat. I am a believer that I can beat anyone in the country, but my focus right now is on giving more effort and putting my best product out there.
What are some things that you do for fun?
This past summer on July 4th I wore a USA wrestling singlet and jumped out of a plane. I have been skydiving since July 10, 2010 and currently have 86 jumps. I am very into it and do it all summer long when we are not in season.
I've done some pretty crazy things in my life, skydiving is obviously one of them. I have sometimes been labeled a bit of an adrenaline junkie. I have swam with sharks, cliff jumped, skydived, white water rafting and am looking to get into some more things like rock climbing when my career is over. One of my goals is to climb Mt. Everest and stand at the tallest point on Earth in a wrestling stance.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I am not sure what my hidden talent would be. If there is something I am "good" at off the mat, I would have to say beating Kenny Courts in pool every time we play.
What do you like to do during the summer?
Wrestling camps are something I try to do all summer long. I love being a clinician and being in front of kids teaching and talking. It is so great to be able to show what I have gone through in my career and be a part of kids who are just starting their careers. One of the coolest moments this summer was thinking about all the camps I have been to since I was five. Hundreds of clinics, thousands of practices and camps. At 23 years old last June I was able to be a camper again, this time at the Olympic Training Center. It was funny how 18 years later I am now sitting with the best in the world but still just a kid raising my hand learning like I did at age five!