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Jacob Knapp Wins State Championship

May 08, 2015 09:30PM ● Published by City Journals Staff

Jacob Knapp on his way to becoming state champion. Photo courtesy of Trent Weibel

By  Becky Flegal

Cottonwood High School’s wrestling team captain, Jacob Knapp, won the Utah High School Activities Associations 5A State Championship. The championship was held at the UCCU Center of Utah Valley University, Feb. 11 - 12. In attendance with Knapp were new head coach Trent Weibel and assistant coach Tom Oills. 

Knapp went into the state tournament as a number one seed. He had to compete against some of the opponents that he had lost to earlier in the season, but defeated them at state. “He overcame some of those things, and frankly at that point, was wrestling at a really high level,” Assistant Coach Oills said. 

The final match was with Syracuse High School student Colton Berger. Toward the end of the match, Berger was injured with a split lip but did not want to stop for medical attention. “You could tell he had an urge of just wanting to go and go.  At that moment I realized he’d win state, he was going to win this match,” Weibel said. With the competitor showing determination, Knapp had a fight ahead of him. Despite the willpower of the competition, Knapp won the fight seven to three.  

There were many challenges that Knapp faced to work his way up to state champion. The team was adjusting to a new head coach, the team decreased in size throughout the season, and more responsibility fell to team captains Knapp and Thomas Oills.  According to his coach, Knapp is a very determined and responsible member of the team. Due to his knowledge of wrestling technique, he frequently assists the coaches during practices and meets by helping his teammates with their moves. Due to a small staff, Weibel will delegate to his team captains to start things such as warm ups, which Knapp handles effectively.  “It was a pleasure to have him in the room. It’s one of those things where a kid like that, with that kind of attitude, are few and far between,” Weibel said.  

Not only is Knapp eager to help his team, but he is equally eager to increase his own presence as a competitor and knows that the only way to do so is through relentless work; he trains both physically and mentally. “Even though he has reached a high level, he is still a student of the sport and willing to be taught,” Assistant Coach Oills said.  In order to increase his skill this season, Knapp and his coaches worked on a different approach to his wrestling. “We made a few adjustments to his preparation, mainly from an aggressive standpoint: having him be more aggressive from the beginning, rather than be more conservative,” Assistant Coach Oills said. 

In addition to his unremitting preparation throughout the season, Knapp maintained certain behaviors during the championship. The coaches worked with Knapp before each match to mentally prepare, visualize, and strategize; every detail was worked over until a maintenance of concrete focus was accomplished.     
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