TENDER: JOSE MONDRAGON
In 1997 Michael Jordan stepped onto the floor of the NBA Finals with the flu and ended up having one of the most legendary performances in league history. On November 2nd, 2019, Matt Jones walked into the Arizona regional qualifier with the flu, and laid 729 brick in one hour. “I Just wanted to finish, I honestly thought my brick count was in the 600’s. My goal was 775, but I certainly didn’t think I did that well based on how I was feeling.” What Jones didn’t realize at that time was that over 200 regional competitors lined up across North America in 2019, and he laid the second highest total out of all of them, while he had the flu.
This is the second year in a row Jones has qualified for the World Championship. He practiced a few times before heading to Vegas last year, and was excited to just be participating. “I was really happy with how I finished last year, and on our drive home my wife pulled up the official results, and we found out I finished 7th overall. I couldn’t believe I was considered one of the top ten bricklayers in the world!” But his wife had a different spin, “she looked at me and said, ‘why are you excited, you can do better.’”
Jones took those words to heart, processed all of the lessons he learned from competing on the biggest stage in masonry, and practiced even harder, which allowed him to have his own legendary flu performance. Now he’s a clear favorite to land on the leaderboard. “I have so many people to thank, but I really want to thank my wife, first and foremost, for always pushing me. I also want to mention Brenden Sarricino, the owner of Sargon Masonry. He lets me use company facilities and materials to practice and is really supportive of this competition. I also have to thank Isaac Perez, my tender from last year, he’s helped me build and tear down countless practice walls, without him I definitely wouldn’t be in this position.”