Feb. 2, 2004
Joe Johnston registered a major decision Sunday in the Hawkeyes’ 31-0 victory over Michigan State. It was Johnston’s 15 victory of the season. Prior to the match, hawkeyesports.com visited with the sophomore from Prairie Village, Kan.
When did you start wrestling?
In third grade when I was nine years old. We had a kid’s club through the Park and Rec department, and we practiced at the local high school.
“I always warm up the same way. I stretch in the same order and do the same shuffling and shots every time. I also say a prayer right before I wrestle. That routine is my body’s way of telling my mind to get focused and get ready to go.”
Iowa sophomore Joe Johnston
What impresses you the most about Coach Zalesky? What was your first impression when you met him?
He is full of knowledge about technique. He can see the smallest problems with your technique and tell you exactly how to correct them. I met him at a couple of big tournaments when I was younger, but I really didn’t talk to him much until I was being recruited in high school. I thought that he was a man of choice words, meaning that he wouldn’t say anything just to say it – he would think about it first.
Do you have any pre-match rituals or superstitions?
I always warm up the same way. I stretch in the same order and do the same shuffling and shots every time. I also say a prayer right before I wrestle. That routine is my body’s way of telling my mind to get focused and get ready to go.
When your career at Iowa is completed, how do you want Hawkeye fans to remember you?
That I always wrestled Iowa style, meaning that I was always on the guy, explosive and exciting to watch.
How would you describe yourself on the mat? Off the mat?
On the mat, I’m attacking my opponent, offensive and relentless. Off the mat, I’m pretty quiet and can be sarcastic every once in a while.
What attracted you to the University of Iowa?
The facilities and the staff are top notch. I decided that if I was going to win an NCAA title, which has always been my goal, it would be here. I still feel that way.
What is the best part about being a student-athlete at Iowa? The toughest part?
One of the best parts is that it’s something extra to take pride in. That sets you apart from the rest of the student body and makes your college experience different. The toughest part is balancing the extra time commitments, scheduling and changing priorities.
When you were little, what did you pretend to be?
What is your worst fear?
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
“Opportunity is fleeting – it’s hard to catch and capitalize on” from my old club coach, Kevin Klemm
What activities/hobbies do you do in your spare time?
I sing in a church choir, and I like to paint, draw and do crossword puzzles
How would your teammates describe you?
A goody two-shoes.
What is something that few people know about you?
I didn’t win a kid’s wrestling tournament until I was 13.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
People who don’t take advantage of their talents and who don’t appreciate what they are given.
What CD, tape or movie in your collection would you consider to be the most embarrassing?
The movie Zoolander.