Q&A: Junior wrestler Justin Oliver reflects on life on and off the mat


Junior Justin Oliver poses for photos on Nov. 1 in the Wrestling Room.

Wrestler Justin Oliver has his eyes set on an All-American finish in his junior season.

Oliver, a 149-pounder, became an All-American his freshman season, but fell one match short in last season’s national tournament after a 12-2 major decision fall to Solomon Chishko of Virginia Tech.

The Davison native has accumulated a 64-16 record in two seasons, including a second-place finish at the Mid-American Conference Championships his freshman year and a third-place finish last season.

Oliver starts the 2017-18 campaign as the preseason MAC champion at 149 pounds, as well as sixth-ranked 149-pound wrestler in the nation. He looked the part at the Michigan State University Open on Nov. 5 as he won all four of his matches and the 149-pound crown.

After the Maroon and Gold scrimmage on Oct. 27, Central Michigan Life spoke with Oliver about life on and off the mat.

What video games do you play? Sports? Call of Duty? Grand Theft Auto?

A mixture of all three. Obviously you can’t go wrong with Madden. I wish there was still NCAA (football), but they got rid of that. I play a little bit of Destiny because I have a PlayStation 4.

What do you normally wear to feel good?

I usually look more toward streetwear. I’ll try to rock some military boots along with a big cozy sweatshirt.

What do you do in your free time?

Oliver: I play video games, watch a few specific shows, but a low-key trait about myself is I like fashion. I like to present myself in a fashionable manner. Not many people could see that with me being a wrestler because most wrestlers wear sweatpants all the time and do whatever. I try to look good, feel good, do good.

What would be your last meal?

This is a great question, because (I’m) cutting weight. I would go with Chicken Alfredo. I love pasta as a whole. It’s my go-to cutting weight meal. It gives (me) carbs to refuel myself.

You mentioned you watch a few specific shows. What’s your go-to on Netflix?

Honestly, my favorite show is “The Flash.” It’s got a positive outlook to it. I try to keep positivity flowing everywhere through my life to keep the smile going.

Who in your family has been the biggest influence on you so far?

I would say both my parents equally. Just taking me everywhere and going to tournaments when I was younger when I first started. Whenever I wanted to skip practice it wasn’t my dad that made me go, it was my mom that would guilt trip me into going to practice, so obviously her getting me to those practices has paid off.

Then my dad taking me wherever to get the best practice partners or get the best matches in. We traveled all the way to Oklahoma just to wrestle against good competition. Both have played a major role in my wrestling career so far. 
Who are you closest to on the team?

Mason Smith. I’ve wrestled with Mason ever since I was about 8 years old, so we’ve known each other for a while. He’s a character. He’s fun to be around. Our personalities complement each other. We’re always goofing around with each other and having fun.

If you could share one meal with anyone (living or dead, celebrity or family) who would it be?

Not because we look similar, but I’ll say Conor McGregor. It would be interesting to get inside his mind with the amount of confidence he has. Ninety percent of this sport is mental. That dude’s always “I’m gonna win, dominate him, destroy this person.” Getting inside that mind and figure out how he gets himself in that state of mind, no matter who he’s going up against would be incredibly helpful.