Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Na Grad Herbert Angles for Spot on Team

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Na Grad Herbert Angles for Spot on Team

Article excerpt

Jake Herbert remembers being 11 years old when he saw Mt. Lebanon native Kurt Angle win the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

The fifth-grader didn't have any sort of epiphany in which he realized his future was on the wrestling mat, but watching Angle's victory on television put a thought in Herbert's head that he, too, might want to try wrestling one day.

That spark stuck with Herbert when he attended North Allegheny High School and decided to join the school's storied wrestling program.

"[Angle] was doing local clinics, and I didn't know it at that time that I wanted to follow in his path or anything, but I started going to his clinics and got more into wrestling as a high school kid," Herbert said.

This weekend, Herbert will have a chance to take the next step toward following Angle's footsteps when he competes at the U.S. Olympic wrestling trials in Iowa City, Iowa.

"It comes in waves," Herbert said of his emotions heading into this weekend. "I'll be excited, then I'll be nervous, then I'll be anxious, then I'll be calm, relaxed. It's like a mini roller coaster."

Herbert had several scholarship offers upon graduating from North Allegheny. He chose Northwestern mostly because of the academic opportunities it afforded him. After all, as just a one-time Pennsylvania state champion, he didn't see much future in wrestling beyond college.

Instead, Herbert, as he put it, "exploded" on the wrestling scene.

He went 149-4 during his collegiate career, winning two NCAA championships and the 2009 Hodge Trophy, the college wrestling equivalent of the Heisman Trophy.

"I said, 'Hey, I've got the degree, I might as well go after it,' " Herbert said.

The next year was a whirlwind, as Herbert finished second in the '09 world championships.

He qualified again in '10, but lost early to the eventual bronze medal winner.

Last year, he fell to Cael Sanderson, the '04 Olympic gold medalist and four-time undefeated NCAA champion, in the U. …

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