Joe Smith, Local Sports, Sports, University

University’s Jacob Simpson trying to focus on states after OVAC championship

MORGANTOWN — Jacob Simpson knows how to take care of business.

Some wrestlers might be intimidated by some of the best competition across two states, but the University High wrestler proved to be different than most, as he stepped onto the mat at the OVAC championships two weeks ago.

Simpson took the championship bracket of the 132-pound weight class by storm, dismantling his competition with ease en route to the championship round, where he downed Jonathan Potts of Beaver Local (Ohio) to capture his first OVAC title.

“Especially up until the final, he was pretty dominant. He wrestled some good kids and never had a close match. He was really dominant,” University coach Ken Maisel said. “In the finals, he wrestled a real good kid and he did what he had to do to win, but up until that point he was pretty dominant.”

Simpson’s win was just the fifth individual OVAC Championship captured by a UHS wrestler since the school joined the conference in 2010. Maisel said the win is a big deal for the program.

“It’s a tough tournament. Just in sheer numbers, you have forty teams, so somebody is bound to be good. It’s a big thing up there, too,” Maisel said. “They do lots of ceremonial things, and after he won, Jacob was interviewed by the TV stations. That shows you what kind of tournament it is. It’s a big deal for him and it’s big for us.

“Some of these young guys and some of the guys that placed this year can look at that and say that’s where I want to be. They can look and say ‘I want to be the guy on the big podium, I want to be the guy interviewed by the TV station.’ It’s very big for our guys.”

Simpson’s title might be exciting for the program, but he’s not getting worked up about it just yet. He said he’s proud of the accomplishment, but there’s more work to be done.

“It means a lot, but it’s just a stepping stone. I got to keep moving forward, it’s all apart a process,” he said. “It’s nice to say I won, but I’m not going to dwell on it. The end goal is to win states.”

Simpson continues to stand out against his competition as the season comes to a close, which Maisel traces to his extraordinary work ethic. Simpson doesn’t show any sign of letting up on the intensity, either. He’s a firm believer in getting an extra edge on the competition, no matter the costs.

“My workouts have to be top notch. You can’t really point at one thing,” he said. “It’s nice to know that you’re putting in that extra time. At the end of the day, I tell myself you get what you earn. That’s my philosophy pretty much.”