Athlete of the Issue: Jake Anderson

Athlete+of+the+Issue%3A+Jake+Anderson

Brendan Hallinan

Dual sport star talks football and wrestling

In his four years at Malvern, Jake Anderson has emerged as one of the top athletes in the school.  Since sophomore year, he has been a key member of the varsity football and wrestling team.  Anderson was an integral part of the Inter Ac champion football team this year and was awarded 2nd team All Inter Ac as linebacker for the second straight year.

Last year in wrestling, Anderson led the team to its most successful season in years.  The team came in second after losing a heartbreaking match at Germantown Academy on the last day of the season.  This season as captain, Anderson looks to lead his squad to its first Inter Ac championship.  He recently placed 7th at the Ironman Wrestling tournament in Ohio.

But sports isn’t everything for Anderson.  He maintains a 4.0 GPA with rigorous classes and also sings for the Liturgical Choir.

I had the privilege of talking to Anderson about his athletic career and his plans for the next four years.

1.  How was the football team able to bounce back from a disappointing season last year and come back to win the Inter Ac this year?  What role did you play on the team?

The team morale has changed so much from last year to this year and I think that has been the main contributing factor to this years success. The seniors, juniors, sophomores, and coaches, are all one big family, and we all work hard day in and day out for the same goal. Last year there was a lot of talent on the team, but not enough emotion. This year we had just as much talent, if not more, but this time we had heart as well. I had some tough injuries and illnesses throughout this season, but was able to start in every game but one at linebacker. I was one of the leading tacklers sackers, and fumble causers, on the team. More importantly than my actions on the field, I brought the team closer together with a positive attitude and a strong work ethic.

2.  Over the last three years on varsity, what game or memory sticks out to you?

The Haverford game from this season 2013 really sticks out for me because it was a real eye opener for me and the team and it really changed the season around for us. That was clearly the low point in the season for us, and we were able to recognize that just going through the motions was not going to be enough to win the Inter-Ac. We decided as a team, to do whatever it takes to win out from that point on. We really flipped a switch mentally as a team and were able to come back and tie the inter-ac and even better, go out with a win by beating our long time rivals, St. Joes.

3.  How did it feel beating St. Joseph’s Prep, the Pennsylvania PIAA champions, this year in your final game?

Playing St. Joes for me was a pretty crazy game. I had to leave MECO early in the middle of the retreat to get back to Malvern for the game. Besides the inconvenient time, the game itself was crazy too because I had a 101 fever at the time. I was pretty “out of it” and don’t remember much of what happened, but all I know is that we played our hearts out and left everything we had on the field. Right after we won the game everyone was celebrating and congratulating me and I was just thinking… “I need to sleep before I pass out”. As a team though we definitely deserved the win. We worked so hard all season and were fully ready to take on the acclaimed St. Joes. We came to play that night, and they were not ready to hang with Malvern Prep. There is no way to end a season than with a win over St. Joes.

4.  Can you explain exactly what happened at the final match against Germantown last year in wrestling?

Going into Germantown’s gym that night we knew it was going to be a grudge match, but we were prepared to win. Our wreslters did outstanding jobs in their matches, but after a series of extremely questionable calls and outrageous decisions made by the referee, the match ended in a tie. After a shady meeting at the head table, it was declared that GA won the match based on “criteria”. If any one of the previous outrageous calls had gone our way, we would have hands down won the match. There would have been no question, but luck was not in our hands that night. It was extremely emotional for all of us, and a huge blow to the enthusiasm of the team. We recovered though and ended up placing higher than them in the team rankings at Nationals.

5.  What are your expectations for the wrestling team this year?

After last years disappointing loss in the inter-ac we are ready to come back this year and fight hard. Although the shot at the inter-Ac title is not as clear as last year, we still have a good chance at it. More importantly than the inter-ac though, I expect Malvern to be in the top 3 schools at States and hopefully in the top 5 schools at Nationals. These are lofty goals considering we graduated so many seniors last year, but I have confidence in my team this year.

6.  I heard you were competing in a national wrestling meet this past week.  How did you and the other Malvern wrestlers fare?

Yes I wrestled at the Walsh Jesuit Ironman Tournament this weekend. This 32 man bracket tournament takes place in Ohio and is easily one of the hardest tournaments in the midwest, if not the country. After only 4 days of practice, and 0 live matches this year, I had a surprisingly impressive season opener at Ironman by placing 7th!  One of only four Malvern wrestlers that were invited to ironman, I was the only Malvern placer. Hopefully next week I can place at Beast of the east, another huge east coast tournament.

7.  What do you like better: wrestling or football?

 It is a close call. It depends on the team chemistry, the coaches, and the school. I love football and wrestling so much it is hard to say which one I like more.

8.  Are you looking to play both sports in college or will you stick with one?  If so, what schools are you aiming to attend?

I hope to play football at Cornell, but if that does not work out, I would consider trying to walk on at the number one wrestling school in the country, Penn State.