By: Dr. Richard Midcap, President, Garrett College
OAKLAND – Garrett College's signing of Southern Garrett High 126-pound standout Jacob Sweitzer goes beyond just securing one of the county's top high school wrestlers for the first junior college wrestling program in the state, according to Lakers head coach John Chambers.
"This isn't about Jacob being a local wrestler – he's one of the top wrestlers in Maryland," Chambers said at Wednesday's signing ceremony at Southern High. "I'm impressed by his work ethic, his demeanor, the way he carries himself. You can tell he's someone we want as one of the faces of our new program."
Southern head wrestling coach Dave Taylor indicated the Lakers are getting a great building block for their program.
"Just gritty," Taylor said when asked to describe Sweitzer. "He wrestles tough and he wrestles hard."
Taylor said it didn't take long to see that Sweitzer and the Lakers were going to join forces.
"When Garrett announced they were starting wrestling, the first thing he [Sweitzer] said was, 'I'd love to go to Garrett College and wrestle,' " recalled Taylor.
"New team, nice coach, close to home," Sweitzer said succinctly when asked Wednesday to explain his decision. "I'm excited about going to Garrett and helping start their program."
Sweitzer has already eclipsed 100 high school wrestling victories – "That's the mark wrestlers shoot for," said Taylor – and qualified for the state tournament as a sophomore. He missed the state tourney last year due in large part to the tremendous competition in the region at 126 pounds, but should be in the mix for another state berth at 126 pounds this season.
"My main goals were to hit 100 wins and to place at states," said Sweitzer. "Placing at states is still a goal even though I know this is a tough region at 126 and it's going to be hard."
Sweitzer's parents – Gary Sweitzer and Wendy Miller – both endorsed their son's college choice.
"That's 30 minutes from my house," said Gary Sweitzer. "It's nice to know he'll be here."
"Wrestling is his passion," said Miller. "For my own sake, I'm glad he gets to wrestle close to home."