Troublefield looks for 100th career win
Indian River High School senior Jake Troublefield has had a goal since his eighth-grade class visited the School for “Moving Up Day” four years ago: to become one of the best wrestlers the school has ever seen.
“I remember the day in eighth grade when my class came up to tour the high school for Moving Up Day,” he recalled. “I walked in and saw that banner in the gym that only had two names on it for wrestling, and I thought, ‘Wow — I really want to get on that.’ Ever since then, I made that my goal, starting my freshman year, to get 100 wins.”
You’d never be able to tell by watching the standout senior battle it out in matches for the past few years — but Troublefield hasn’t always been as dominant on the mats, and 100 wins didn’t always seem like it was a possibility, much less an inevitability.
“I got to middle school and in sixth grade I really wanted to try it,” he said of his early involvement with the sport. “My dad said I should focus on football, but in seventh grade I figured I’d give it a shot. I wrestled, but I didn’t really start — there was a pretty talented kid in front of me.”
A longtime standout football player, as well, Troublefield wasn’t accustomed to not starting, but he stuck with his new endeavor and was driven to work harder as a result.
“I took my lumps as a freshman. I didn’t win a lot of matches,” he recalled. “By my sophomore year, I started to win quite a few, and that’s when I started to pursue wrestling a lot.”
Since that point, Troublefield has put his time and effort into perfecting his game, competing in off-season tournaments and following the tutelage of head coach Jeff Windish — all while balancing a storied football career.
“I can’t say enough about Coach Windish. He’s like a father to me,” Troubelfield said, attributing his success to his coach. “All the things he’s done for me — taking me to tournaments in the off-season, practices — I think I owe to him to get the 100th win.”
Troublefield’s teammates are, perhaps unsurprisingly, some of his biggest supporters, as well.
“Our 106-pounder, Mitchell Bolton, said his mom is going to make me dinner if I get it, so I’m pretty excited about that, too,” he said with a laugh. “I know a lot of my teammates have really wanted me to do it for a long time.”
With Troublefield on his 97th win as of Coastal Point press time on Wednesday, Jan. 29, one might think he’d be hard-pressed to remember each individual match, but Troublefield can still remember his first-ever varsity victory like it was yesterday.
“It was at the Yellow Jacket Invitational at Newark High School,” he recalled. “I wrestled a kid from Dover and beat him 8-2. My dad keeps a book of every single match I’ve wrestled since freshman year.”
With four regular-season matches left, Troublefield could very well be going for his 100th career win when the Indians return from a three-match road stint, against Wilmington Friends School on Monday, Feb. 3. That match begins at 4 p.m.