Junior wrestler Jordan Kutler has had great mentors throughout his Lehigh career. He looks up to both graduated national champion Darian Cruz and coach Pat Santoro, among many who have helped shape him both as a wrestler and as a person.
Just awarded All-American honors, Kutler attributes his successes to his mentors.
It’s definitely a huge honor for me,” Kutler said. “Not as many people can say that they are a two-time All-American. Having said that, I am still hungry for next year and want to reach my ultimate goal in becoming a National Champion.”
Despite after having to move up two weight classes before the beginning of the season last year, Kutler has an overall record of 53-11, including a 25-6 record this season.
He ties fellow sophomore teammate and All-American Jordan Wood for the team high in wins.
While Kutler is known for his talent on the mat, Wood said Kutler is just as important of a presence off the mat as he is on it.
“(Kutler) has an insane work ethic in everything he does,” Wood said. “He has always been a great leader by example but this year he really stepped up and became more of a vocal leader for our team.”
Kutler has been a mentor himself for his younger teammates. Sophomore Joe Lobeck said the team admires his toughness as a wrestler.
“He is a guy who goes out every match and is so consistent,” Lobeck said. “(He) is unlike most wrestlers at the Division I level who struggle with consistency.”
At the beginning of the season, the Mountain Hawks faced adversity. With high expectations of performance, Lehigh opened its schedule with seven straight losses much in part due to both season and career-ending injuries.
The team had to rely a lot on younger players and called on guys who were three or four spots deep into a starting spot.
Kutler acted as a motivator for the team.
“I think as a team we decided that we had enough of losing,” Kutler said. “Everyone started to pick up the intensity whether it was a practice, lift or a match. We started to compete the way we are taught here at Lehigh.”
The second half of the year was different for Lehigh. It ended the regular season winning nine of its last 11 matches. The Mountain Hawks then followed up in the postseason with an EIWA Conference Championship for the second straight year and an overall 13th place finish in the NCAA Championships last weekend in Pittsburgh.
Kutler finished in seventh at the NCAA Championships in the 174 weight class. He is now just one All-American honor away from joining a class of 17 wrestlers who were three-time All-Americans at Lehigh.
However, Kutler is more focused on another thing — becoming a national champion. To do this, Kutler said the off-season will be an integral role in his performance for next season.
“I think the most important part of this off-season for me is to listen to my body,” Kutler said. “I have dealt with injuries in the past and I understand that the college season is a long season so that means it is extra important for me to train and lift hard while also properly recovering and getting good nutrition in my body.”