- By Patty Hutchens
Athlete of the Month
Gig Harbor High School
A senior at Gig Harbor High School, Jake Flynn has been on the school’s football team throughout high school and joined the wrestling team this year. “I began wrestling in third grade and continued through eighth grade but did not wrestle in high school up until this year,” said the 18-year-old. “I finally decided to come out for the team this year, and it definitely was a great decision.”
Jake placed high at several tournaments and qualified for state where he finished fifth in the 195 pound bracket of 32 people. “I was also named the WSWCA Academic State Champion at 195 pounds,” said Jake.
He has also made his mark in football for Gig Harbor High School, serving as the varsity football team captain. He received the varsity football Tide Pride award and was awarded the National Football Foundation Lineman of the Year. Jake earned three varsity letters and four WIAA Outstanding Scholastic awards.
In addition to his athletics, Jake has worked hard to maintain a 4.0 GPA and takes 10 Advanced Placement and honors courses. He was elected as an officer for Gig Harbor High School’s National Honor Society and spends time tutoring math and volunteering around the community.
As one can imagine, Jake’s biggest challenge has been balancing academics and athletics. But he schedules his day so that he doesn’t waste any time. “Using my time effectively when I do have free time allows me to stay ahead,” said Jake. “For example, I might read about what we are learning in physics the weekend before so that I’m not behind during the week. Overall, time management skills are a significant factor in balancing school and sports.”
Jake has yet to decide where he will attend college in the fall but says his top choices are the University of Washington and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. “I don’t have any plans to play sports in college, but I’m definitely going to keep an open mind,” said Jake about his future plans.
As far as academics go, Jake will pursue a degree in engineering and plans to become a bioengineer, designing advanced prosthetics that will allow amputees to live fuller lives. “I’ve always enjoyed math and science, and I want to be able to apply the skills I’ve learned to real life situations,” said Jake.
He shares that what he enjoys most about wrestling is how it is both a team and an individual sport. “When I’m competing, it’s an individual sport—it’s just me and my opponent. If I lose, there’s really no one to blame but myself,” said Jake. “I certainly enjoy the individual aspect, but besides the six minutes I spend on the mat during a match, wrestling is a team sport. The bonds I formed with my teammates are strong and will last a lifetime. I could never have performed so well this year if it wasn’t for my coaches and teammates constantly challenging me to improve during practice.”
Jake said that through sports he has learned that it is OK to fail, as failure can lead to success.
“You either give up or learn from your failures. During the state wrestling tournament, I lost a tough match in the quarterfinals. I could’ve easily given up at the point, but instead I learned from my mistakes and went on to win my next couple matches. My last match at the tournament was against the same opponent I had lost to in the quarterfinals. This time I learned from my mistakes and pinned my opponent in the second period.”
It is that kind of tenacity and determination that will ensure that Jake will be successful throughout his life in whatever path he follows.