Westmoreland Alumni Q&A with Jaden Datz

The former Southmoreland Scottie is a top wrestler at Washington & Jefferson

Wed Dec 29, 2021 - 10:23AM

Sean Meyers Sean Meyers
Southmoreland's Jaden Datz has won his first seven matches at Washington and Jefferson this season.Southmoreland's Jaden Datz has won his first seven matches at Washington and Jefferson this season.

Last Updated: Wed Dec 29, 2021 - 7:15PM

Jaden Datz has proven to be a versatile athlete, as he competed in three sports while at Southmoreland, and participated in both wrestling and football at Washington & Jefferson College. Datz, who compiled more than 100 wins on the mat with the Scotties, is now a top grappler for the Presidents. Datz is the latest feature for the Westmoreland Alum Q&A.

As a freshman wrestler at Southmoreland in 2014-15, Datz went 24-17, finishing third in the 152-pound Class AA sectional. He placed seventh in the WPIAL Class AA bracket, punching his ticket to the next round. In the regional bracket, however, Datz failed to place.

The following year, Datz improved his mark to 28-11, and once again finished third in the sectional, this time in the 160-pound bracket. From there, he placed fourth in the WPIAL event, but failed to place in the region.

In 2016-17, Datz compiled a record of 32-8. In the process, he took first in the 160-pound sectional, and finished second in the WPIAL in Class AA. Once again, he failed to place in the regional tournament, however.

As a senior, Datz posted a record of 33-7. Wrestling at 170, Datz finished second in both the sectional and the WPIAL. Datz then reached new heights, as he finished third in the region, punching his ticket to the PIAA bracket. In the state competition, Datz finished in fifth.

In total, he amassed a record of 117-43 during his career at Southmoreland.

On the gridiron, Datz threw for more than 1,200 yards and 8 touchdowns, and added more than 1,000 yards rushing and another 17 touchdowns on the ground in his career. He also played baseball, leading the Scotties in runs and RBIs as a junior, and in stolen bases in his senior year.

Following his graduation, Datz continued his academic and athletic pursuits at Washington & Jefferson College, playing football and also wrestling.

Competing at 174 pounds, Datz went 23-15, including a pair of pins, for the Presidents in his freshman season of 2018-19.

In 2019-20, Datz went 13-7, notching one fall.

Although the 2020-21 season was cancelled as a result of COVID, Datz has resumed his stellar performance this season, as he won his first seven matches, and finished eighth at the Messiah University Petrofes Invite earlier this month.

Datz also played on the W&J football team as a defensive back in his freshman and sophomore campaigns.

Jaden took time from his schedule to address questions about his improvement on the mat during his time at W&J, his most enjoyable college class, and the best Christmas gift he’s ever received.

Q: You have been named PAC wrestler of the week twice already this season. What has been instrumental in your success?

A: I would say there are a number of variables, but hard work being number one. From there, all the mat time I put in over the summer at Jim Akerly's Quest School of Wrestling and with my weight trainer Chris Pierce, who is the co-owner at All-American MMA. I clocked a lot of hours in the weight room this summer and on the mat, and that has helped me a lot.

Q: How have you improved as a wrestler throughout your time at Washington & Jefferson?

A: Mentally, a lot. When I first came in, I thought being in Division III would be a smooth transition. It was difficult balancing football, wrestling, and my course load, but mentally, over the last two years under Coach Prairie, is where I believe I was able to grow the most.

Q: What is key to maintaining a healthy weight throughout the season?

A: Again, constant work throughout the summer helped me keep my weight in the right area coming into the season, but also just limiting the amount I eat in a day. I value food and eat like a horse, so it is hard for me to discipline myself.

Q: You also previously played football at W&J. What skills transfer between the gridiron and the mat?

A: Everybody knows that wrestlers are the guys you want on your football team. Footwork, hip-work, and even hand-work are all skills I have used through both football and wrestling.

Q: What team and individual goals did you set for this season?

A: My goal as a team would be for us to go undefeated in our dual meets and also claim another conference title. My individual goal would ultimately be to standing at the top of the podium for the national tournament.

Q: What led to your decision to attend W&J?

A: I wanted to go to a college where I would be challenged academically, but also be able to do both football and wrestling. Sometimes I ponder baseball, but I think it would be too much; So, a competitive academic setting, but also a place where I could still play the sports I love.

Q: There are several WPIAL wrestlers on the Presidents' roster. With which of your teammates did you have relationships or familiarity prior to college?

A: Surprisingly, none. I met Manny Dovshek once a few summers into high school, but that was before we knew where we would end up. I didn't really get to meet any of the wrestlers until the winter of my freshman year because of football, but now they are all like family to me.

Q: What is your major, and ideal future profession?

A: I just completed my business administration major this fall. I will graduate in the spring. I would like to either attend a school where I can enroll in a post-baccalaureate to get the necessary prerequisites to take the dental admissions test, or do a dental hygienist program. If that does not work out, I would like to do sales internationally. My dream has always been to work in a healthcare system and help people.

Q: What has been your most enjoyable college class?

A: International Business Environment and Science taught by Dr. Eddie Yongo. I actually took this course this fall and it really opened me up to the opportunities internationally for careers and educated me a lot on the U.S. economy, but also other countries’ economies. I cannot thank Dr. Yongo enough for all that he taught me in this course.

Q: What was your fondest memory at Southmoreland High School?

A: Being able to play Friday night football in the fall, wrestling through the winter to spring, then baseball heading into the summer. When I look back at it all, these sports were like a job to me. It wasn't like I only keyed in on one either, which I am happy my dad did it how he did. We focused on each sport when each was in season. So, the memories accumulated from playing all three of those sports within those four years.

Q: What was your favorite part of playing QB for the Scotties?

A: Just being able to take on the leadership role. Even though we had a few rough seasons when I was there, I loved every second of it. I knew that one day it would all be gone, so I made sure to make the most of it. My favorite memory though playing quarterback was just the adversity and challenges that came with it and just remembering how I was able to handle it and thrive in those uncomfortable situations.

Q: If you could wrestle one match against anyone in the world, past or present, who would you choose? What would be the result?

A: This is a tough one and made me really think, but I would have to go with my oldest brother Shane. We go back and forth, and even when I came home for winter break in college, we work out together. So, I would have to go with Shane, and of course I am taking myself over him. I think an accurate result would be a major decision ending in my favor, but I think he would go all three periods haha.

Q: Do you prefer water, a sports drink, or something else for wrestling?

A: I love purple Powerade. Coach Prairie always get us Powerades for our tournaments and I usually put one in my bag for the bus ride home after wrestling, because they are always all gone after weigh-ins.

Q: To which movie or TV show can you recite nearly every line?

A: Supernatural or We Are Your Friends with Zak Efron.

Q: What is the best Christmas gift you've ever received?

A: My first fly-rod my dad got me last Christmas. It was a certain rod for a certain type of fishing, so it has been super effective in my fly-game while making it a lot more fun.