In a sport that, by nature, comes down to the individual, Kayden Johnson is a team player. The senior does what is best for the storied Ponderosa wrestling squad. He's an unassuming athlete. He …
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In a sport that, by nature, comes down to the individual, Kayden Johnson is a team player.
The senior does what is best for the storied Ponderosa wrestling squad. He's an unassuming athlete. He studies his opponents before each match and emphasizes his strengths, and tries to perfect them with each match. He'll stick to his go-to arm-bar series of pin moves, but the 160-pounder will usually overmatch any opponent with just the basics.
The challenges and adversity he faces in wrestling make it his favorite sport.
“It's probably one of the hardest sports in the world, and it's been around for such a long time,” Johnson said. “Anything can happen to anybody.”
“He's a very unassuming kid. He's great in the room, great out of the room, comes from a great family, works his butt off every single day. He's a real team-oriented guy. We had a decision last week — what would be best — and he came down on the option that was better for the team, which is always impressive."
— Carmen Rinaldis, head coach of Ponderosa wrestling
Johnson has a record of 10-2 through Dec. 17.
Q&A with Kayden Johnson
What's your favorite pin move?
Easily, my favorite pin move is the bar arm series. Get a bar arm in there and chicken wing, something like that. It's always a fun move.
What's your after-weigh-in go-to snack?
Subway. Got to get that Subway sandwich. Cold cut combo. Got to get that lettuce. Gatorade afterward.
What's your least-favorite conditioning drill?
Probably the stairs. Running down and up the stairs really gets the legs going. That's a little rough.
What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
You've got to have a winning mindset, in my opinion, and always have that feeling of `Why not me?' That feeling of being a little kid, watching everybody else and be like `Hey I want to be like that.' Kind of gives you that `Why not me?' factor.
What do you do in your downtime between matches?
Really just trying to focus and make sure you have a plan before you go out and wrestle. Watch your opponent a little bit and see what he's going to do, and have a plan for what you're going to do when you get out on the mat.
Do you have a type of pre-game music you listen to?
We do like kind of old-school stuff. A lot of classic rock. I like rap, all the modern rappers now. It kind of gets me going.
What's your favorite class?
Probably P.E. classes, I have a lot of fun in that. I like sciences and math as well. Those are the fun ones.
Do you have any plans for after high school?
I want to go to dental school. I'm trying to be a dentist. ASU (Arizona State University) is my No. 1, then Utah Valley is my second.
Do you play any other sports?
I play football, it's always a fun one, but I'm always looking forward to wrestling season.
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