Long Beach junior Jacori Teemer announced his college decision on Monday. The four-time state champion will head West to compete for head coach Zeke Jones and the Arizona State Sun Devils.
Teemer won his first state title for the Marines as an eighth grader, defeating Adam Busiello at 99 pounds and followed up with gold medal performances at 106, 126 and 132.
For an interview with Teemer from April, after he won a pair of national championships in consecutive weeks (at NHSCAs and FloNationals), see below.
This article was originally published in April 2017.
Jacori Teemer remembered his bout with Quinn Kinner in last year’s FloNationals (a 6-5 victory for the 2017 New Jersey state champ) … and he was hoping for a rematch.
That meeting took place - in the finals at the FloNationals in early April at 132 pounds.
After both wrestlers picked up a takedown and two escapes, the score was knotted at 4 in the third.
“I needed to get that win,” Teemer said, mentioning that he took sixth at that event last year. "[Kinner] got in on my legs a lot. When it was tied, we got into a funky position and I’m really comfortable in those positions. When I locked up the cradle and put him to his back, I knew it was over at that point.”
It was. Teemer prevailed 8-6 to win the FloNationals title - and the coveted belt that comes along with it.
"It was exciting. You get a belt and there's nothing better than that," he said with a laugh. "My coach told me to bring it into school. A lot of people wanted to hold it. It's pretty heavy."
It wasn’t the only national championship award that Teemer could take with him into Long Beach High School. He picked up his first at Fargo in Cadet Freestyle in the summer of 2016 and added another a week before the Flo tournament at the NHSCA Nationals in Virginia Beach.
At that event, he wrestled up at 138 and won his first two contests by a point before widening the gap with his opponents as the event progressed.
"I wasn't feeling really good in the beginning," Teemer said. "Throughout the tournament, I got better. I got used to the weight because I'm not really a 138 pounder. In the finals, I felt great."
He faced the then-eighth ranked wrestler in the country Cole Matthews of Pennsylvania in that championship match. After a scoreless first period, Matthews rode tough for more than half of the second stanza before Teemer picked up a reversal and back points for a 5-0 advantage.
"I wasn’t in danger of being put on my back from bottom," Teemer said. "I knew once he put the claw in, the elbow pinch would work. I was doing that the whole tournament at FloNationals. I would reverse; elbow pinch to a Peterson. That's something that came from [former Long Beach wrestler and Cornell All-American] Dylan Palacio."
Teemer went on to win 7-5 over Matthews for the national crown.
“Jacori certainly has the uncanny ability to win," Long Beach head coach Ray Adams said. "He has incredible wrestling IQ. He knows the situation, knows what he has to do, knows where he is on the mat. Those are great qualities he has that helps him win those tight matches. And he has the confidence too. He's one of the smartest kids I’ve ever coached in match strategies and situations. He’s a special kid.”
While his national titles have no doubt been special, he’s also part of an elite club in New York of four-time state champions, winning at 99 as an eighth grader (over nationally-ranked Adam Busiello), at 106 as a freshman, at 126 as a sophomore and at 132 as a junior.
"I think as a sophomore, he really grew as a wrestler exponentially," Adams said. "Making the jump from 106 to 126 and then winning Fargo at 132 isn't easy. You see a lot of kids successful down low, but when they move up, they don't see the same success. Jacori learned how to wrestle the bigger guys. He figured out what works and what doesn’t pretty quickly. He also lifted really hard. That's crucial in making that jump from 106 to 126 and now to 132 and 138. The thing I really enjoy is he’s a competitor. He's always looking to test himself. Some kids may duck things here and there. He goes right at it."
He’ll go right at the challenge of making Team USA as he's getting ready for the Cadet World Team Freestyle Trials in Akron. And when it’s time to return to folkstyle, he’ll be looking to make history as the second-ever five time state champion in the Empire State. (Cornell NCAA champion Troy Nickerson of Chenango Forks was the first).
"It's exciting to be in the group of four-time state champs with guys like [Cornell recruits] Yianni [Diakomihalis] and Vito [Arujau]," he said. "To get five ... to be put in that category would be humbling. Sometimes my coaches bring it up -- you gotta keep working hard to get five."
So, of all his titles, which is the most memorable?
Teemer mentioned the two straight New York State team dual championships for Long Beach.
"Winning team titles is more exciting," he said. "At Long Beach, we’ve been together since elementary school so our chemistry is stronger than other teams. At the UE Duals [in the 2017 finals against Wantagh], the score was tied, everyone was going crazy, it came down to the last match. That's the most exciting."
Adams said having Teemer in the program for the Marines during those championship runs has been essential.
"Jacori's a great kid; a lot of fun to be around and he's a cool customer. He doesn’t panic," Adams said. "I have the utmost confidence in him. When he attacks, he's so quick and explosive. The thing is, he’s not even close to hitting his ceiling yet. He'll continue to grow, wrestling wise, next year and as he wrestles in college."
So what are some possible destinations for Teemer? He said he’s still looking around, but has a few schools in mind.
"I've been to NC State, I went to Penn State camp and I'm going to Arizona State in a few weeks," Teemer said. "Those are three schools I'm interested in right now."
He expects to be a 149 pounder and will be someone to watch.
"I don't know where he'll go, but whatever college gets Jacori will be very lucky," Adams said.
Jacori Teemer thanked many coaches, including Ray Adams, Miguel Rodriguez, Leo Palacio, Bernard Valentin and Vougar Oroudjov. He said wrestling almost every day with Vito Arujau has helped him tremendously.