Jakob Campbell wanted to enjoy his senior wrestling season for Boyertown to the fullest. That included not only making it to the state individual tournament and winning a medal there, but also having fun while doing it.
He succeeded on both counts, while also winning conference, district and regional championships along the way. He went 39-6, despite missing two weeks in the middle of the season due to injury, and wound up with the third highest career win total in program history.
His fourth-place finish at the PIAA Class 3A Tournament was the best among Pioneer Athletic Conference participants. That and many other impressive accomplishments during the season are good reasons for his selection as the Reading Eagle Tri-County Wrestler of the Year.
"It's all been a really cool experience," said Campbell. "At District 1, I won Outstanding Wrestler. I'd never won that before. I won first place at regionals for the first time. That was a cool thing. Placing in states was awesome. Every practice, I enjoyed it. I'm grateful to compete and represent Boyertown and my family."
"He's definitely a coachable kid," said Boyertown head coach Pete Ventresca. "He does a lot of work on his own. He's intrinsically motivated. He has that inner drive. He wrestles year-round. He became a success through year after year after year of hard work and being disciplined. I'm happy to see his hard work is paying off for him."
Campbell began wrestling while in kindergarten and came up through the Boyertown Youth Wrestling Club and Junior High East programs before beginning his successful four-year career at the high school level.
"Actually, I wasn't very good when I was little," he said. "I stuck with it. I was having a lot of fun. I wrestled with my brother. I developed a passion for it. My father was really supportive of it and I just hit the ground running from there.
"To really excel and jump levels, you really have to be committed. You have to love it passionately and be a little crazy to do it."
Campbell suffered concussion symptoms after his last match at the Escape the Rock Tournament in January of this season and missed two weeks. But he returned in plenty of time to win his fourth straight PAC and district titles, and his first regional title, and qualify for the state tournament for the fourth straight year.
"It was a little setback," he said concerning the injury. "It was frustrating. My teammates were competing hard and having fun. It's hard to watch. But it kind of gave me a new fuel and made me more anxious to go out and win. Any injury is never good, but it might have helped."
Campbell went on to win his third state medal to go with a bronze as a sophomore and seventh-place finish as a junior. He finished with a 156-32 record and the second most career wins among active District 1 wrestlers.
"It's really tough to relax and have fun in intense atmospheres like that," he said. "But I really did."
He has also been involved in FBLA, National Honor Society, Special Olympics and Relay for Life, and has helped with the youth wrestling club.
Next, he will move on to Bucknell University to wrestle and major in finance and accounting.
"I'm really excited about that," he said. "I'm going to take a class during the summer and work out with some college guys get used to Division I wrestling and give me the best possible chance to win at the next level."
"He's got that inner drive and succeeded in the classroom, as well as on the mat," added Ventresca. "He has the work ethic that can make him a success in whatever he does."