Southmoreland graduate Jaden Datz achieves long-awaited success with W&J wrestling

He could have been patient. Instead, Jaden Datz showed discipline.

For the former Southmoreland High School multi-sport star, who is the first-time winner of the season for the Washington and Jefferson College wrestling team, his patience paid off after suffering a long spell of heartache and sweat.

Datz, a senior, is scheduled to graduate in the spring after a turbulent athletic career at Division III W & Johnson, which has been interrupted periodically due to injuries and the COVID-19 virus.

“He’s done a great deal of work here,” said W&J coach Tommy Prairie. “He’s just a kid who loves to compete. The important thing with him is that you get the same version every day. He comes and works and he’s excited to be here.

“every day.”

With his first full NCAA season approaching, Datz enters next week in the Conference Chiefs Athletic Championships scheduled next week among the nominees at £174.

Datz joined W&J with the intention of playing football after enjoying his time on the field as a two-way player in the middle and safety at Southmoreland.

But his development was delayed by a tattered courage he suffered that summer in American baseball.

Datz underwent potential surgery and rehabilitated the injury in time to begin training in the middle of his sophomore season.

He has also seen limited activity with the W&J wrestling team.

As a sophomore, Datz broke his right hand when it got stuck between two helmets and missed the rest of the football season. He continued working with the wrestling team that winter.

He then turned his full-time focus to the sport, where, in Southmoreland, his four-year record was 117-43 at 170, 182 and 195 with a fifth at 170 in the PIAA Championship as a 2018 senior.

Datz was twice the runner-up for WPIAL.

“It wasn’t easy,” he said. “Especially during the season. I had a lot of friends going to Seven Springs, and they wanted me to go. I can still hear my dad (George) saying, “You’re not going to be good if you don’t make extra time.”

“I haven’t been to Seven Springs very often.”

With football out of the picture, Datz missed his first year on the mats at W&J when the team wasn’t competing due to covid-19.

It was another heartbreaking moment for Datz, who said he will likely retire from the sport at the end of the season.

But that doesn’t mean he won’t remember the year – and the job – he put it together.

“My mindset made me put things in a different perspective,” said Datz, a native of Raffles Dale. “I realized very quickly that I could take advantage of every opportunity.”

Datz recently took home his fourth PAC Wrestler of the Week award with a pin and two key decisions in three matches. He took the record 23-3 in the PAC Championship, an eight-man, double-elimination tournament on February 12 at Marisa Fieldhouse in Waynesburg.

The seeds will be revealed on February 10th.

“I tried to enjoy every moment of it,” Datz said.

Likewise, he does not plan to take advantage of the additional year of eligibility offered by the NCAA to return next season after lost time during the coronavirus pandemic.

Datz, 22, said, “I have already completed my major (in business administration). Initially, I wanted to go to dental school, but I didn’t get the prerequisites I needed. I am trying to absorb all of them and enjoy it now. I know it will be gone in no time. two months “.

Maybe there will be regret?

“I know guys a little older than me who would love to come back and do it again,” Datz said.

Of the 12 PAC member schools, only three — Thiel, Waynesburg, and W&J — sponsor wrestling.

Teams will be allowed to enter two wrestlers in each of the 10 weight classes ranging from 125 to 285 pounds, and selected beginners will be eligible for seeding.

Creations will be randomly placed in parentheses.

Wrestlers from the same team will be placed on opposite sides of each bracket, and the backup copies will be placed in an arc opposite the start of the seed.

The matches leading up to the finals will be played simultaneously on three mats, with the finals taking place on a central mat.

The highest scorer in each weight class will be used by each team, with the place winner receiving eight points for first, five points for second, four for third, and one point for fourth.

Wherever Datz is in his bracket, he said he envisions the moment of stepping on the carpet as being frozen in time.

“Regardless of the outcome,” he said, “I am grateful for the rewarding ending.”

Dave McCall is a contributing writer for Tribune-Review.

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