Performing in one of the greatest wrestling venues in America can provide anybody with chills. But the feeling is different for Jack Jensen, who made his return to Gallagher-Iba Arena to wrestle again in front of those who cheered him on during his time at Oklahoma State from 2004-07.
Jensen, who took third in the 96 kg (211.5 lbs.) weight class at the 2013 U.S. World Team Trials, said that it's a feeling that few arenas give him.
“It's a great atmosphere,” Jensen said. “It's the best place to wrestle in the country. There's no place like it, that's part of the reason I came here.”
Jensen also said the atmosphere during the trials was similar to the way he remembered it in college.
“I get goose bumps just talking about it now,” Jensen said. “Wrestling Iowa here, wrestling Minnesota, and Oklahoma, It was almost the same atmosphere here today. Just the passion for wrestling and you can't beat it.”
Selected as the wild-card selection in his weight class, Jensen is a member of the Army World Class Athlete Program, which is part of the U.S. Army.
“I took 2012 off to join WCAP,” Jensen said. “I missed that whole season to do basic training and IET (Initial Entry Training) and I caught up with WCAP just as the Olympic Team training camp was starting.”
Being a member of WCAP means he is in a different situation than other wrestlers, both being able to wrestle full time and have other options open to him.
“First of all it's the U.S. Army, the best organization in the world,” Jensen said. “What they do is they give you Army career options and you wrestle at the same time. Right now I'm a Fourteenth Tango, and even though I don't train that and I train wrestling full time, it gives me the option to make a career out of it.”
The time to work on his wrestling is not the only benefit Jensen receives from being part of WCAP, as he has the ability to support his family from it as well.
“For me I have a wife and a son,” Jensen said. “I get benefits; I get a paycheck every month. I don't worry about the house payment, I don't worry about anything. All I worry about is wrestling.”
Jensen said while he does wrestle full time, he still appreciates the opportunity to be a part of the U.S. Army.
“I'm lucky enough to wear the uniform,” Jensen said. “I get to represent my country in two ways, one for the U.S. Army and one for wrestling.”
Jensen also said he can relate his time at OSU to his time in the Army by how proud it makes him.
“It's kind of a pride thing,” Jensen said. “I learned a lot of that when I was in school here. John (Smith) told me to have a lot of pride in what you do and who you are. I think that echoes in the U.S. Army and the WCAP program.”