- Last Updated: 1:20 AM, June 13, 2012
- Posted: 12:50 AM, June 13, 2012
John Zarcone kept asking Jorje Jimenez if he could keep going and the Grant Street wrestling star wasn’t always sure what to tell his coach.
“There were times where I couldn’t even answer him,” Jimenez said.
The senior suffered a concussion while wrestling in the Mayors Cup in January. The PSAL wrestling Wingate Award winner was taking down an opponent, ended up hitting his head on his foe's knee and blacked out. Considered the league’s top senior, Jimenez was afraid his final season might have to come to end, but two weeks later he was cleared to return to the mat, though he never fully recovered and wrestling sparingly until the playoffs.
“It was a shame that we weren’t able to see his full potential,” Zarcone said.
Jimenez felt the symptoms return during the state tournament. He said it was one of the most disappointing moments in his life because he felt like he was ready in his final season to go out in style.
“For that to happen was just heartbreaking,” Jimenez said.
It, however, didn't keep him from having another phenomenal season in his first at Grand Street. Jimenez, who was at Lehman for his first three years of high school, needed a change of scenery academically. Zarcone had been training him at Grand Street during the offseason when Jimenez visited his uncle, who lives in the area. The comfort level there made it an easy choice, not to mention transition.
“The kids were all comfortable,” Zarcone said. “They felt like teammates anyway. ... He already fit in. He was already a leader.”
Jimenez helped propel the Wolves to the PSAL Class A city title by beating Brooklyn Tech, 47-28, in the final. He won all four of his postseason matches at 152 pounds. The title was one of the final pieces to his stellar career. Jimenez was a four-time PSAL individual city champion in four different weight classes (125, 140, 145, 160).
“He’s a once in a lifetime talent,” Zarcone said.
He won three Mayor’s Cup crowns and earned two Most Outstanding Wrestler awards. This year he was the second-ranked wrestler in New York State. The Pelham Bay native began wrestling when he was seven years old because his father Jorge, who wrestled for DeWitt Clinton, wanted him off the streets and out of trouble.
“Thank God I started young,” Jimenez said. “It gave me an edge over people who just started in high school.”
Jimenez will attend St. Benedict's Prep in New Jersey next year. The postgraduate school has a solid wrestling program and should only benefit Jimenez. He is a solid student, but needs help completing core classes to meet the NCAA Clearinghouse requirements. Jimenez was being recruited by Hofstra and Rutgers, his dream school, while at Grand Street.
“It's giving me more options, hopefully for better schools,” Jimenez said. ... "You never settle for what you think is good. You always want to do better.”
He couldn't have asked for a better cap to his high school career, winning the Wingate Award after fighting through the concussion issues and leading Grand Street to a city title.
“It makes up for all the sweat, all the blood and tears all the times,” Jimenez said. “It’s satisfying that all the hard work paid off at the end.”Follow @NYPostsports