There are 2570 fans on right now!
(Click For Complete Broadcast Schedule)


Most Recent Action Photo Galleries

(Click For Complete List Of Galleries)
11/22 Boys Basketball  Malad Jamboree
11/22 Girls Basketball  Blackfoot vs Snake River
11/19 Football  Homedale vs Sugar-Salem
11/18 Football  Kendrick vs Dietrich (State Final)
11/18 Girls Basketball  Grace vs Murtaugh
11/18 Football  Meridian vs Rigby
11/18 Football  Skyline vs Bishop Kelly
11/17 Football  Grace vs Oakley
11/17 Football  Firth vs Bear Lake
11/17 Football  Firth vs Bear Lake
11/16 Girls Basketball  Snake River vs Kimberly
11/12 Football  Weiser vs Homedale
11/12 Football  Weiser vs Homedale
11/12 Football  West Side vs Bear Lake
11/12 Football  West Side vs Bear Lake
 
Hidden Gems of Idaho Prep Wrestling: Jason Mara, Meridian
Al Fontes shines the spotlight on Idaho wrestling's hidden gems
Published: 4/28/2022 11:50:00 AM
Al Fontes
Contributing Writer
 

For the last several decades, the Gem State of Idaho has produced its share of exceptional wrestlers that achieved stellar prep and collegiate careers.

They include NCAA All-Americans Jared Lawrence (Sandpoint H.S./University of Minnesota), Jake Rosholt (Sandpoint H.S./Oklahoma State), Adam Hall (Bonners Ferry H.S./Boise State), Kirk Smith (Centennial H.S./Boise State), PAC 12 Champion Tanner Hall (Meridian H.S./Arizona State), and 2000 Olympian Charles Burton (Centennial H.S./Boise State), to name a few.

More recently, Post Falls’ Ridge Lovett (Univ. of Nebraska) and Coeur d’ Alene’s Casey Randles (Grand View Univ.) represented well at the NCAA and NAIA nationals with Lovett earning a trip to the NCAA finals (All-American) and Randles winning an individual NAIA title and second All-American honor overall.

Being fairly new to the state, it has been my observation that there has been a myriad of great things happening in Idaho and the future looks bright for the Gem State. For such a small, low populated state, the number of young prep wrestlers performing at the national level is unprecedented and has steadily been increasing for over the last decade.

To highlight the future of Idaho wrestling, I have put together a series I am calling the HIDDEN GEMS OF IDAHO PREP WRESTLING. This series will feature a cadre of Idaho’s top underclassman that have not only made their mark on the state and national scene, but are currently low on the national ranking radar, yet have great potential to break the barrier of the top 10 in the years to come.

My first “HIDDEN GEM” in this series is sophomore standout Jason Mara of Meridian High School in the 5A division. Mara was first introduced to the sport at the young age of 4 when his parents took him to a local club in Bakersfield, California to learn discipline and toughness. To date, Mara has had an exceptional mat career and is on a trajectory to compete at the next level and beyond.

Growing up in the Bakersfield area during the early part of his life, Mara was fortunate to be in the midst of the Central Valley, a highly competitive region of the country that for generations has produced many great high school, college, and Olympic level wrestlers. In fact, 2x NCAA Champion and 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist Jake Varner grew up and competed in the Bakersfield area.

Mara’s first exposure to wrestling was with coaches Kirk Moore of Bakersfield and Matt Monteiro of Paso Robles, each talented prep and college level wrestlers. Moore was a California State Champion and All-American for Foothill High School in Bakersfield and continued his mat career at Purdue University where he represented the Boilermakers at the 2000 NCAA Division I Championships. Wrestling for Paso Robles High School, Monteiro placed at the California State Championships and also qualified or the NCAAs while competing for Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

From his early beginnings on the mat, Mara has been exposed to high level wrestling and has received great instruction from many quality coaches and mentors through the years, including his present coach Brad Muri at Meridian High School and their experienced coaching staff. Based on my observations and the accolades he has earned thus far; it has paid off in his young prep career at Meridian.

Only a sophomore, Mara is a two-time Idaho State Champion in the 5A division, the eleventh wrestler at Meridian to achieve this feat since the early 1970s. Additionally, he is a 4x All-American, placing 5th at Fargo and winning individual titles at the USAW Folkstyle (16U) and National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) National Championships in 2021.

Furthermore, Mara has won two District III titles, placed twice at the 16U Western Regionals in freestyle and Greco-Roman, and recently earned All-American honors at the USAW Folkstyle Nationals in the Showcase division (this division featured many state and national prep champions). For the past two seasons at Meridian, Mara has led the Warriors to back-to-back state team titles in the 5A division, the fifth overall title in the school’s history dating back to when Olympic Coach Bruce Burnett led the program in the 1980s.

Not only is Mara an exceptionally talented wrestler, he also excels in the classroom. Currently, Mara maintains a 4.0 GPA while taking college preparatory courses. He has also been on the Principal’s Honor Roll several times and is a member of the National Honors Society. Having had the opportunity to observe Mara in competition and to talk to him in person, I am impressed with this young man and his potential in life.

 

“The sky is the limit for Jason. He has an incredible trajectory in the sport and in life. He also has the talent and work ethic to reach any goal he sets.”

                         -  Brad Muri, Head Coach, Meridian H.S.

 

In summary, Jason Mara has had a very successful mat and academic career thus far. Already having two 5A state titles to his credit, he is in position to challenge for a third (to date, Meridian has produced 3) and perhaps a possible fourth.

Not one to shy away from high caliber competition, Mara has excelled against the best prep wrestlers in the nation and is definitely among the top tier underclassman in the country to watch in the next few years.

With two individual national titles (NHSCA, Folkstyle) and many other notable accomplishments on his resume coupled by his exceptional academic performance in the classroom, Mara is definitely a HIDDEN GEM to watch in the state of Idaho and has great potential to excel at the next level and in life. I had the opportunity to sit down with Jason and discuss his wrestling experience, academics, and his future outlook in life. Below is my Q&A interview with Jason.

Q&A WITH JASON MARA

How did you first get involved in the sport of wrestling?

My parents put me in a wrestling club when we lived in the Bakersfield area in California. I was around 4 years old at the time. My Dad felt wrestling would teach me discipline and toughness in order to protect myself and younger sister.

Who has been your biggest influence in the sport?

My first club coaches, Kirk Moore and Matt Monteiro. They each motivated me to excel in the sport and kept me interested. I had a good bond with Coach Moore in the early years of my mat career. I also spent a lot of time with Coach Monteiro and trained with his son, Tye for about four years. I learned a lot about wrestling from each of them.

What are your short and long term goals heading into your Junior season at Meridian High School?

My short term goal is to continue improving my technique to compete at the highest level possible. My Long term goal is to compete for a high level college program.

Describe your experience being part of two Idaho State Championship teams at Meridian High School.

It has been an amazing experience, especially with the support of our coaching staff. They have given so much to all the wrestlers in our program. All the hard work we have put in thus far has paid off.

Describe your academic and wrestling experience at Meridian High School.

I have had a positive experience so far with my academics and with the wrestling program. I feel very challenged both academically and in the wrestling room. Great environment to excel.

Having had some great success at this point in your wrestling career, describe your training routine and your outlook for the years ahead.

During the regular high school season, I train every day of the week. At least twice in the week, I put in a double practice. Once in the early morning and the other in the evening. Moving forward, I want to focus on improving my technique, so I am able to compete on a higher level. Continuous improvement is important to me.

Do you have ambitions of competing in college or international competition?

I want to compete for a top level Division I college program. As of today, I have no plans to compete in freestyle or Greco after college.

For the past several years, the state of Idaho has had a lot of success at the Folkstyle and Fargo Nationals. Being a member of the national teams that recently won back-to-back Folkstyle National team titles and produced a state record 24 All-Americans in Fargo last summer, where do you see Idaho wrestling in the next ten years?

If our state continues to train and compete at the level they are today, I believe Idaho is more than capable of becoming a top 5 state in the country. There is a lot of great things happening here…

Is there an Olympian or collegiate level wrestlers or someone outside of the sport of wrestling that you want to aspire to be someday?

I look up to Kyle Dake. Having earned four NCAA titles and two World Championships, he’s an exceptionally talented wrestler…I like his wrestling style. I’ve watched Kyle compete since I was a little kid.

What life lessons have you learned in wrestling that applies in your day-to-day life?

Discipline and maintaining a hard work ethic.

Do you have a saying or philosophy that you live by?

Yes! “Take life one day at a time.”

What advice would you give a young wrestler wanting to be successful in the sport of wrestling or in life?

To put in the necessary time, sacrifice, and effort to be successful. You have to want to be successful, a CHAMPION…be willing to do the hard work necessary to achieve success.

What are your academic goals?

To graduate college with a Master’s degree in Dermatology.

Outside the sport of wrestling, what other goals do you have in life?

I want to become a Dermatologist and run a practice with my friend, Caden Frix.

Once you are done competing, do you have plans to stay involved with wrestling?

Yes, I want to become a coach someday. Help kids that want to excel on the mat.

What hobbies and family functions do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy playing video games during my free time and being with my family and friends.

JASON MARA’S ACADEMIC AND ATHLETIC PROFILE

SCHOOL: Meridian High School (5A)
GRADE: 10 (Class of 2024)
WEIGHT: 138
CLUB: Fighting Squirrels WC

ACADEMIC ACCOLADES

  • National Honors Society
  • Principals Honor Roll
  • Maintains 4.0 GPA (College Prep)

WRESTLING ACCOLADES

  • 2x 5A State Champion, 2021, ‘22
  • 2x District III Champion, 2021, ‘22
  • USAW Folkstyle All-American – 4th Place (Showcase) ‘22
  • NHSCA National Champion (Soph. Division) ‘22
  • Fargo 16U Freestyle All-American – 5th Place ‘21
  • USAW Folkstyle 16U National Champion ‘21
  • Western Regional Greco-Roman – 3rd Place (16U) ‘21
  • Western Regional Freestyle – 4th Place (16U) ‘21
  • 2x Idaho State Champion – Freestyle/Greco (16U) ‘21








This information is copyrighted to IdahoSports.com. Any rebroadcast, retransmission, or other use of this information is strictly prohibited without the expressed, written, consent of IdahoSports.com.

Copyright IdahoSports.com | Privacy Policy