Future Cadet and Committed Wrestler, Jake Waldron

Talking to Waldron I noticed his passion for wrestling almost immediately, he lives and breathes the sport. From what I could see with a mask, his smile was ear to ear when talking about the sport he loves and the decision he had made to wrestle at “The Virginia Military Institute”. Waldron did not think commitment was in his future until his coach mentioned

it to him prior to his senior year, at this time Jake had no offers and had not talked with a coach. With his coaches’ inspiration and support Jake started competing at a national level and winning. He wanted to wrestle but one thing took priority, going into the military.

Joining a military academy was Waldrons number one goal, closely followed by wrestling. He was not willing to sacrifice his career for a sport, even though he would be devastated if he couldn’t compete at a collegiate level. This stand

Photo Credit: J Thomas Taylor Photography

out athlete says “I will go to a military academy, I always knew. I knew when I started playing toy soldiers as a kid”. With this goal in mind Waldron knew that there was not a wide variety of places he would be willing to wrestle for. National military academies are usually extremely competitive and hard to get into just considering academics, add wrestling and it becomes a completely different monster.

I asked Waldron if he had a school he was aiming for and after less than a second “VMI” came out of his mask covered mouth. Jake loved VMI and would jump at any opportunity to go there, even if it meant wrestling was not in his college future. He says “ It’s the hardest academy, and I want to prove to myself I can do it”, just from this quote alone we can see the hard working attitude Waldron has.

As mentioned previously Jake started winning national level competitions and started building a reputation for himself, he hoped to get attention from any military academy but VMI was still the goal. As time went by Waldron started getting anxious that his wrestling career would come to an end in 2021, that’s until the call came…VMI contacted Jake showing interest. As Waldron and the coach started to form a relationship his performance continued to improve and as Jake would say he got into the “rough and tough” mindset. After a healthy time of communication VMI offered Jake a spot on the team and he “just knew it was a yes!”

Jake prepares for his new journey by going head first into training and practicing, pushing himself harder than every before. Waldron does not just want to be another freshman at VMI but instead a competitor that will be making an impact for his team. He is excited for this new start and opportunity to follow both his dreams by serving his country and competing at a collegiate level. Jakes one word of advice for future athletes getting ready to commit or start their own journey is to be patient and have “a lot of mental toughness”, this is the “key” says Waldron.