Name: Jake Temple
Weight: 220 pounds
Temple’s week: Temple became the lone Class AA wrestler from the area to win a second straight title in the PIAA Southwest Region Tournament at Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Johnstown.
Temple started the tournament with a first-round bye, thanks to his gold-medal performance in last week’s WPIAL Championships at Chartiers Valley. He won his quarterfinal bout over Tom Sever of Yough by a 16-1 technical fall, then made it to the finals with another technical fall, 16-0, over Seth Hitchens of South Allegheny.
In the finals, Temple won a thrilling 3-2 decision in ultimate tibreaker when he rode Reynold Maines of West Branch for 30 seconds of the final overtime. It was Maines’ first loss in 36 bouts this season.
“Every tournament I go to, I have the same outlook,” said Temple. “I try not to let nerves take over.”
That attitude has produced a 39-0 record this season, making him one of just four Class AA wrestlers in District 7 to remain undefeated. The others are John Demaske (40-0) of Jefferson-Morgan, Jason Nolf (40-0) of Kittanning and Mike Carr (40-0) of South Fayette.
Secret to his success: Temple has developed his wrestling over the years, coming within one win of medalling at the state tournament as a sophomore, to placing fourth last season, to heading into this year’s event as the top-rated wrestler at 220 by a number of publications, including Off The Mat.
It’s been a steady progression of improvement.
“I wrestle every summer,” Temple said. “I go to as many tournaments as I can just for the mat time. It helps me get ready for the regular season. The only time I am not wrestling is during football. But I did miss a game to compete in the Super 32.”
Experience has transformed Temple into more of a technician. And his strength makes him even more dangerous.
“He is stronger than he looks,” said Avella head coach Jeremy Allen. “He can use his strength to get out of bad situations.”
One such situation came in the final 30 seconds against Maines, when Temple wrapped his arms around Maines’ head and managed to ride him out for the win.
Allen was impressed with the way Temple held his composurer when Maines slapped at Temple’s face early in the match.
“The kid tried to get him out of his game,” Allen said. “If Jake is going to get beat, that’s they way he’ll get beat, getting away from his game plan. Maines was trying things to annoy him.”
Fore: When Temple has some time away from wrestling in the summer, he golfs.
Is he any good?
“I play so bad sometimes that I don’t even keep score,” he said. “But there has been a couple times when I came close to a hole-in-one.”
Temple has a better chance of success on the mat, and likes the bracket he is in for the 220-pound title. Temple opens the state tournament against Rian Shubeck of Panther Valley, a junior with a 33-8 record. Two other wrestlers Temple is familiar with are on his side of the bracket: Dylan Otis of Wyalusing and Andrew Dunn of Bethlehem Catholic.
“I like where I’m at,” he said. “I beat Otis before and in the summer, I got a good look at Dunn. They are all tough up there.”
Compiled by Joe Tuscano