#MondayMatness: Jimtown’s Gimson twins gearing up for senior season
By STEVE KRAH
The identical Gimson twins — Conner and Matt — return for their senior wrestling season for Jimtown High School in 2018-19.
Both brothers are two-time IHSAA State Finals qualifiers. Both stepped onto the State Finals podium last season — Conner placed fifth at 138 pounds and Matt eighth at 132.
Both Jimmies are back and looking to do even better in their last prep mat go-round. They will likely be in those same weight divisions.
After going 46-4 in 2017-18, Conner Gimson’s three-year career record stands at 123-21. Matt Gimson went 46-5 last season and is now 127-20. “They have a ceiling that’s still really high,” says Jimtown head coach Jeremiah Maggart of the Gimsons, who are the youngest of Scott and Sherry Gimson’s four children (Drew and Kylie are the oldest). “They’re successful because they wrestle really hard and do things strong.”
Both brothers honed their skills and got different looks by competing in out-of-state tournaments last spring and summer. Among those were individual and national duals in Virginia Beach, Va., and the Super 32 in North Carolina.
“They showed me a different way to wrestle so I have to think differently,” says Conner Gimson.
His approach on the mat has changed since the beginning of his high school days.
“Earlier in my career, I was thinking strength could win it all,” says Conner Gimson. “But you need both technique and strength.
“You have to have the dedication in practice everyday. You push yourself more today than you did yesterday to be a better wrestler later on.”
Matt Gimson is also taking the lessons he learned in the summer and applying them in the Jimtown practice room. To improve, he has grappled with Maggart, Conner, Hunter Watts and others.
“I thank everyone that’s helped me through the process,” says Matt Gimson. “I’m better at getting takedowns (compared to my early prep career). In the neutral position is what I’ve been working on from my freshman year to now.”
Repetition is the key.
“When you do something so much, you get used to it will become muscle memory,” says Matt Gimson. “That’s what I think has gotten better for me.”
Conner has witnessed an improvement in Matt, his older brother by 27 minutes.
“He’s gotten smarter, faster and stronger, too,” says Conner Gimson of his brother. “He can do a quick re-shot compared to some other people.”
Maggart says he is trying to get Conner to realize his potential.
“He can win big matches,” says Maggart. “Last year, he lost at the Charger Invitational (at Elkhart Memorial) and two matches at the Al Smith (Classic at Mishawaka).”
After that, Conner told his coach that he wanted to step up his game.
His work ethic increased and so did his focus on technique.
“We drilled everyday from the Al Smith to State,” says Maggart of Conner Gimson. “He worked really hard in positions he wasn’t good at.
A kid coming up and saying I want to do this is pretty awesome.
“He beat a lot of good kids from the regional on (including Elkhart Memorial’s Bryton Goering in the Elkhart Sectional and Fort Wayne Semistate finals as well as Central Noble’s Austin Moore in the regional final and Yorktown’s Colt Rutter in the semistate “ticket round,” Western’s Hunter Nottingham in the semistate semifinals and Culver Military’s Adam Davis is the fifth-place match at State).”
Matt Gimson’s first loss as a junior came to Indianapolis Cathedral’s Alex Mosconi in the Al Smith Classic finals.
“That didn’t faze him,” says Maggart. “Sometimes you lose a match or two and you’re kind of shaky on where you’re at.
“(Conner and Matt) stayed the course and listened to our coaching staff about getting them where they want to be — state place winners.”
Maggart has seen the twins excel with what appears to be natural strength. It might also come from a 6-foot-4 father and grappling against bigger kids at a younger age.
“Wrestling stronger kids made me who I am today,” says Conner Gimson.
Their coach has noticed that muscle in both twins.
“They are so strong,” says Maggart. “They are no live-in-the-weight room kids. When they grab on to you, you say that kid’s really strong for 130 pounds.”
Does it help to have many moves in your arsenal?
“It helps if you know a lot of things, but if you stick to the basics that will be the best,” says Conner Gimson. “The basics we talk about are high crotches, single-legs and doubles.”
Maggart notes that the Gimsons have improved technically a lot the last year and a half, but there is a comfort zone with certain moves. “I’m confident that I can get the stuff done if I do it my way,” says Conner Gimson.
Conner Gimson was once known for his spadles and Matt Gimson his cradles, but both have worked to diversify their attacks.
“I have to have other moves if that one doesn’t work,” says Matt Gimson.
Some wrestlers can become known for certain things. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they can be stopped.
“If you do something well enough and hard enough, it doesn’t matter if they know it’s coming,” says Maggart. “You can’t be a one-trick pony and have one move. But if you have a couple of things and you do them well enough that no one can stop you, you’ll be OK.
“Jordan Burroughs is one of the best wrestlers in the world. Everyone in the world knows he shoots a double and he still scores on doubles on everybody.”
Not only are the brothers physically tough, there’s mental toughness there, too.
“Probably the biggest part of the sport that is unnoticed is how tough are you when things are tough?,” says Maggart. “Everybody’s going to eventually get in that spot. (The Gimsons) are tough. They’ll do whatever you ask them to do. They show up. They put a lot of time in.
“They’re always mentally in it.”
Both brothers plan to wrestle in college, but have not yet made commitments.
The Jimmies open the season with the Jimtown Super Dual Dec. 1. Some of the other competition include the Charger Invitational at Elkhart Memorial Dec. 8, the Henry Wilk Classic at Penn Dec. 15, a dual at NorthWood Dec. 18, the Al Smith Classic at Mishawaka Dec. 28-29, the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association State Duals in Fort Wayne Jan. 5, a dual against Northridge Jan. 8, Northern Indiana Conference Tournament Jan. 12 and a dual against Edwardsburg (Mich.) Jan. 15.