by Carrie Adams
“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” – Prefontaine
When Jesse Jantzen won the High School state wrestling title as a Senior from Shoreham High School in 2000, he made history. He was not only named Asics Wrestler of the Year and the National Most Outstanding Wrestler that year, but he was the first four-time state champion in New York State history. This video, created by Riccio Productions, captures his monumental journey.
As a college wrestler at Harvard, Jantzen was a three-time All-American and as a senior in 2004, he was the NCAA Champion, the NCAA Outstanding Wrestler, and the EIWA Champion in the 149 lb. division (Harvard’s first in 66 years.) In 2005, after graduating from Harvard in 2004, he went to Budapest, Hungary and the University World Games (a freestyle tournament) and earned the World Champion title. His list of achievements is inspiring and his mark on the wrestling world won’t soon be forgotten.
Growing up in Shoreham, NY, his parents Don and Debbie Jantzen encouraged Jesse and his three sisters and brother to pursue athletics. His brother Corey currently wrestles for Harvard and his sisters excelled in gymnastics and field hockey.
Says Jantzen, “My dad was an athlete and got us into sports early on. We tried everything.” Jantzen, 29, is now a Portfolio Manager at Clearview Capital Management and living in Manhattan but still lives an active lifestyle and will be racing in the Spartan Race in Tuxedo,NY on June 4th and 5th.
When speaking about what is compelling about the race, Jantzen says, “It seems competitive and it seems like a race that appeals to my background as a wrestler– strength, endurance, mental toughness – we have those three things.” He’s also a true competitor and athlete at heart and looks forward to the challenge. “I have been out of serious competition since 2008. I want to see how I react to that challenge after a number of years and how I stack up against the elite in this sport as someone who has never done it.”
Jantzen trains regularly these days. He lifts three days a week, wrestles two days a week and runs three – four times a week. He’s recently started trail running again on some “pretty aggressive” trails near his sister’s home. When asked how he thinks he’ll do, he laughs, “I could be really good at it or it could be really humbling. If it’s humbling that may motivate me even more. Maybe spark a competitive interest in a new sport.”
His best friend Mike Torriero is running with him and members from Beat the Streets, an organization in New York where Mike works. According to their site, “The Mission of the Beat the Streets Wrestling Program is to expand and develop wrestling in the New York City Metropolitan area from the youth through the Olympic level.” The dream of the organization is to provide opportunities for boys and girls in the activity of wrestling, building lifelong skills. Several of their members will be participating in the event.
The mission and dream of Beat the Streets means a lot to the wrestler from New York who made a name for himself in the sport and is now supporting the talented wrestlers following in his footsteps. His legacy as one of the most dominating wrestlers is matched by his willingness to see the sport he loves thrive with a new set of contenders. With the Spartan racing series, he may find a new event for himself in the process… That’s Spartan Spirit, New York.