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NYM Wrestling: Jordan Novak eyes school wins record

New York Mills Jordan Novak has 159 career wins. The school record for wins, held by Peter Mursu, is 168.

Jordan Novak is a quiet senior on a wrestling team that doesn't get the recognition of the Perhams and the Frazees.

That doesn't bother the New York Mills standout. He'll just keep beating pretty much everybody that comes his way.

"He's pretty humble," Eagles coach Eric Niemi said. "He just goes about his business and you know what you're going to get from him every single time he goes out there.

"He's been operating at that high level for many, many years, and he's always been one of the best we've had."

By the end of this season, Novak will likely end up the winningest wrestler in New York Mills history.

Novak is 19-2 on the season, putting him at 159 victories for his career. Peter Mursu holds the school record with 168.

Despite all of the wins, Novak is bothered by one defeat - his 11-9 loss to Paynesville's Jon Kerzmann in the Class 1A 135-pound state title match at last year's state tournament.

"Losing that last match of last year just killed me," Novak said. "But that set the goals pretty high this year. It made me just want to get back and do it."

Novak is ranked third in Class 1A at 135 pounds, but he's not too wrapped up in rankings.

"I'm going to work just as hard no matter who I'm going up against," Novak said. "It doesn't matter where I'm ranked, or if I'm wrestling someone who is ranked, or if I'm wrestling someone who is unranked."

His two losses are to Hutchinson's Jordan Hansen and New London-Spicer's Shawn Hattlestad - who are both ranked at 140 pounds in Class 2A.

"He definitely had a good state tournament last year, and I think that really motivated him," Niemi said. "But he is a solid wrestler all the way around.

"He's excelled in everything he's done for a long time, whether it's in sports or in school. He's always been consistent, and he's worked to be a complete wrestler."

Novak has wrestled in four state tournaments, going with the Eagles section championship teams as a seventh- and eighth-grader.

He competed in the team and individual tournaments the last two years. He placed fifth as a sophomore before the runner-up finish last year.

The tournaments wrestling both the individual and the team portions get a little taxing, but Novak said he wouldn't have it any other way.

"I was fortunate to go as a seventh- and eighth-grader, and then not going as a ninth-grader was a big motivator," Novak said. "It takes its toll, wrestling in them both, but it's a lot more fun when you go with the whole team.

"I'll take that every time."

The team finished fourth in Class 1A in 2008, but that was kind of overshadowed by Frazee's second-place finish.

"We've had some good teams, but we're probably one of the smaller schools in this little stretch up here, so we have to work pretty hard to stay at that level," Niemi said. "Jordan represents us very well.

"He just keeps working hard, and that's what we have to do, too."