Last Updated: Tue Jan 11, 2022 - 1:01AM
In the midst of Westmoreland County’s dominance in wrestling over the past decade, Belle Vernon Area captured the WPIAL team title in 2015-16. One of the most accomplished wrestlers for the Leopards that season was Jacob Dunlop. Dunlop has continued his success at Gannon University, receiving All-American honors last season. Now in his final year on the mat, Dunlop is featured in the latest edition of the Westmoreland Alum Q&A.
Dunlop immediately factored into the Belle Vernon Area lineup as a freshman in 2013-14, as he posted a record of 26-15. Competing at 106 pounds, Dunlop finished third in Class AAA Section 2. Although he won a pair of matches at the WPIAL competition, Dunlop failed to place.
The following season, Dunlop improved to 34-10, and finished second in his section. He returned to the WPIAL bracket, but again did not place.
In 2015-16, Dunlop compiled a record of 39-13. In the process, he took first place in the sectional. From there, Dunlop placed third in the WPIAL tournament, and punched his ticket to the PIAA competition. He failed to place in the state bracket, however. Collectively, the Leopards secured the WPIAL Class AAA team title that campaign.
Dunlop continued his upward trajectory as a senior in 2016-17, as he notched a record of 41-8. Bumping up to 113 pounds, Dunlop secured another section crown. From there, he again finished third in the WPIAL event, and returned to the state competition. This time, Dunlop placed eighth in the PIAA.
He concluded his career with a mark of 140-46, and opted to continue wrestling at Gannon University.
As a freshman with the Golden Knights, Dunlop competed at 125 pounds and went 18-12 overall, including an 8-5 dual mark, scoring one fall. Additionally, Dunlop came in fifth at the NCAA Division II Super Regional One. Gannon went 8-5 that season, including 4-3 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC).
In 2018-19, Dunlop posted a record of 18-10, including 8-2 in duals. He proceeded to place second at the Super Regional One, qualifying for the NCAA Division II National Championships, where he went 0-2. Meanwhile, the Golden Knights went 7-3, including 6-1 in the PSAC.
Dunlop made significant progress the next campaign, as he went 20-5 overall, including 6-1 in duals, while posting three pins. He repeated as the runner up at Super Regionals, and again qualified for the NCAA Division II National Championships. However, the event was cancelled as a result of COVID. For his accomplishments, Dunlop was named All-PSAC Second Team. Collectively, Gannon was 8-6, with a 5-2 mark in the PSAC.
During an abbreviated season last campaign, Dunlop went 6-3, winning the Super Regional. At the National Championships, he went 2-3, finishing in eighth place, and garnering All-American status.
Now in his fifth year at Gannon, Dunlop has amassed a record of 12-2 this season. He’s currently ranked 12th in his weight class. The Golden Knights are just 1-2 thus far, and have yet to compete in a conference matchup.
Jacob took time from his schedule to answer questions regarding the significance of being an All-American, his decision to attend Gannon, and his fondest memory at Belle Vernon Area.
Q: How have you evaluated your performance so far this season?
A: I have been working on my setups and trying to work on new ways to get to my main shots.
Q: What are your best attributes as a wrestler?
A: My rubber knees are definitely a good attribute that I have. Another good attribute that I feel I possess is my ability to slow down matches to my liking.
Q: What did it mean to you to garner All-American honors last year?
A: It was amazing. When I came to college, one of my main goals was to become an All-American. It makes me very happy to have done that. Now, I can go win a national title.
Q: What factored into your decision to compete for a fifth season?
A: When I came to college, I had always planned to go five years (redshirt one year); COVID giving us an extra year of eligibility further strengthened my decision.
Q: What team and individual goals did you set for 2021-22?
A: For team goals, I’m hoping our team can win a national title this year. We have the talent to do it - the team and I just need to go through and do it. A goal for myself this year is to win a national title for my final year.
Q: What led to your decision to attend Gannon?
A: One of my coaches from Belle Vernon went to Gannon. He was a big influence in my ultimate decision to go to Gannon. When I came on my visit to Gannon, I fell in love with the campus and surrounding city. I really liked the feel of campus. I really liked my first impression of my coaches, as well. After I was done with my visit, I was pretty much set on attending Gannon.
Q: What is your major, and ideal future profession?
A: I just graduated with my accounting degree this past December. I am currently pursuing my MBA. I would like to get my CPA after college and further my experience with accounting.
Q: What has been your favorite aspect of college, aside from wrestling?
A: I have really enjoyed the independence that college has brought. It has helped me mature and grow as a person.
Q: Belle Vernon Area wrestling had great success during your time there. What were the biggest reasons?
A: We all grew up together. Our team that was successful as we were when we were in high school was the same team in elementary school. We all grew up with each other at a young age and developed together through high school. I definitely believe this was a big factor in our success in high school.
Q: What was your fondest high school memory?
A: My fondest high-school memory was commencement and graduating; it gave me a sense of accomplishment and I was happy for myself, as well as all my peers who were graduating too.
Q: Do you have any superstitions or rituals before, during, or after a match?
A: I do a routine every time I warm up before matches. I say a set of phrases to get me in the zone, and to prepare myself for the match. I have been doing almost the same routine going on 10 years now.
Q: If you could meet anyone past or present, who would you choose?
A: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, I would choose to meet Nikola Tesla. I would be interested to see what went on in his mind and some of his experiments.
Q: To which movie or TV show can you recite nearly every line?
A: I wouldn’t say I can recite every line, but a movie that I’ve watched many times and enjoy - my parents enjoy it too - is Step Brothers.
Q: If you woke up tomorrow with $1 million, what is the first thing you'd do?
A: If I woke up tomorrow with $1 million, I would pay off everything that I need to pay off, get a nice old red Corvette, help my family with anything they may need, and most likely invest the rest.