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Mat Chat: Jake Rosholt, Sandpoint
Al Fontes sits down with the former Sandpoint and Oklahoma State standout
Published: 1/17/2023 5:14:47 PM
Al Fontes
Contributing Writer
 

Photo Courtesy of Mike Randles

 

It has been several months since I first launched my MAT CHAT series with NAIA College National Champion Casey Randles of Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho. My initial goal with the MAT CHAT was to highlight former wrestlers and provide an update where they are today along with an extensive review of their past accomplishments. Perhaps in the future I’ll expand this series to include former or current coaches and volunteers that have impacted, as well as contributed to the growth and improvement of our great sport.

The second wrestler in my series is Jake Rosholt, perhaps one of the best upper weight wrestlers of all time to have ever come out of the Gem State. A 2001 graduate of Sandpoint High School, Rosholt not only had an outstanding prep career, but continued his success at Oklahoma State University, in addition to fighting in the Mixed Martial Arts world. Today, he lives an active life, which includes being married with children, supporting his local community, and maintaining a ranch in rural Oklahoma.  

Growing up in Sandpoint, a city nestled close to Lake Pend Oreille in the northern panhandle of Idaho, Rosholt was fortunate to be in a small community (Population under 8k) that was not only committed to youth sports, but education and academic excellence. Beginning his mat career at a young age (Kindergarten), Rosholt had the overwhelming support of his parents and community from the get go, which provided him the perfect setting to grow and excel in a sport he quickly adapted to and loved. Competing at the club level, Rosholt showed great potential from the beginning and by the time he reached high school his wrestling aptitude, work ethic, and will to succeed was well above the average.  According to his high school coach, Mike Randles, “Jacob was the perfect storm of talent, work ethic, and mental toughness. Regardless of the practice, opponent, and situation, Jacob had one gear and he never shifted from it…the most commonly used phrase associated with Jacob is, Humble.”

In 2001 when Rosholt had earned his third Idaho state title in the 4A division, he became the first wrestler to achieve this great feat among the 4A at state (Note – prior to 2001, the state was broken down by three divisions – A-1, A-2, and A-3). In fact, his list of accolades continued to expand from that point forward. Having earned a national title in Freestyle and “OW” at Fargo the year prior (compiled 11 straight technical falls), Rosholt completed his senior season being part of a State Championship team, as well as winning the National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) Senior title in championship form. As it happens, I was the Team Leader for California that year at the NHSCA and witnessed first-hand his preliminary matches and final. Without a doubt, he was the best 189 pound prep wrestler in the country that year.  A result of his top-level performance, Rosholt represented the USA All-Star team at the prestigious Dapper Dan Classic versus the Pennsylvania elite, as well as earned top honor recognition being listed on the Wrestling USA Magazine Dream Team, ASICS Tiger First Team, and was the recipient the Dave Schultz High School Excellence award for the state of Idaho.

That season, Rosholt was highly recruited by several Division I programs and, in the end, landed at Oklahoma State University, which is among the most accomplished and decorated programs in the history of collegiate wrestling. For instance, Oklahoma State has produced many Olympians, including medalists John Smith (2x Gold), Kendall Cross (Gold), Kenny Monday (Gold/Silver), Jamill Kelly (Silver), and Coleman Scott (Bronze) to name a few. Furthermore, Oklahoma State has historically produced over 30 NCAA Division I Championship teams and has generated a long list of All-Americans and individual champions.

While at Oklahoma State, Rosholt continued his winning ways by producing a career record of 105-20 (.840) and in the process becoming the school’s fifteenth 3x NCAA Champion and tenth 4x All-American (1st, 3rd, 1st, 1st). Additionally, he was a 3x Big 12 finalist, winning a title in 2004. What’s more, Rosholt was a member of four NCAA Championship teams (2003-’06) and in 2005 was part of a team that produced a very rare five individual champions in the same season (Zach Esposito, Johnny Hendricks, Chris Pendleton, Jake Rosholt, and Steve Mocco). In due course, his accumulation of top tier accolades at Oklahoma State placed him in a small club of elite wrestlers in the Cowboy program, as well as the best of the best in the history of the NCAAs.

 

“Jake Rosholt was an absolute Stud! As good of a big match wrestler as I’ve ever coached.”

  • Chris Owens

Shortly after graduating from Oklahoma State in 2006, Rosholt entered the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) world. As a matter of fact, Rosholt began his MMA career while training in one of Randy Couture’s training centers in Las Vegas. Also, an alumni of Oklahoma State, Couture was a two-time NCAA All-American (finalist twice), multiple Pan American medalists, two-time World Cup medalist in Greco-Roman, and historically among the top UFC fighters to ever fight in the ring. Competing in both the middle and light heavyweight divisions, Rosholt fought in the UFC and Bellator, accumulating a 12-5 record in his five year fighting career (2007-’12).

In the sport of wrestling, it is very common to have siblings compete as well. In regards to the Rosholt family, Jake’s younger brother, Jared, followed in his footsteps. Competing for two seasons at Sandpoint and then two at Ponca City High School in Oklahoma, Jared earned four prep state titles and was also selected to Wrestling USA’s Dream Team his senior season (2005). While at Oklahoma State, Jared earned two Big 12 titles and was a three-time NCAA All-American, reaching the finals in 2010. Additionally, he entered the MMA world, too, and in the process produced a solid 20-8 record.

In summary, Jake Rosholt had a very stellar wrestling career in the Gem State of Idaho and in the latter half, Oklahoma State, finishing his competitive career in MMA. His overall record and accolades at the prep, collegiate, and MMA levels speaks volumes. Without a doubt, Rosholt is among the best to have every come out of Idaho and his performance at Oklahoma State places him among the nation’s elite. More recently, I had the distinct opportunity to have a one-on-one talk with Jake. We talked about growing up in Sandpoint, Idaho, wrestling, college, MMA, and his present life in Oklahoma. Below is my Q&A interview with Jake.

 

Q&A MAT CHAT WITH JAKE ROSHOLT

 

HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED IN THE SPORT OF WRESTLING?

ROSHOLTI remember wrestling around with my Dad in the living room. At the time, I didn’t know much about wrestling, it was just fun. When I was in Kindergarten, I received a flier encouraging kids to join the local wrestling club.

 

WHO HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCE IN THE SPORT OF WRESTLING?

ROSHOLTMy parents. They saw something in me and were willing to sacrifice all their time and money to facilitate my journey in the sport.

 

BEING A NATIVE OF IDAHO, DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE GROWING UP IN SANDPOINT, AS WELL AS COMPETING FOR SANDPOINT HIGH SCHOOL.

ROSHOLTSandpoint was a neat place to grow up…Its all I knew at the time. Our community was really dedicated and committed to youth sports. There was a belief at Sandpoint High School that academics and sports were important. Our teachers and administrative staff provided the support, leadership, and environment to prepare students for life.

 

WHAT OTHER SPORTS WERE YOU INVOLVED IN GROWING UP IN SANDPOINT?

ROSHOLTI played pretty much every sport possible as kid. In high school, I focused on wrestling and soccer.

 

DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE COMPETING FOR NATIONAL POWER OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY.

ROSHOLTIt was phenomenal…a great experience! Being part of several national championship teams is beyond comprehension. While at Oklahoma State, I built a lot of strong friendships and bonds that are strong to this day.  

 

YOUR FRESHMAN YEAR (2003), YOU ENTERED THE NCAA TOURNAMENT WITH A 16-9 RECORD, SEEDED #10, AND AGAINST ALL THE ODDS, WON YOUR FIRST OF THREE TITLES . WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS ENTERING THE TOURNAMENT THAT SEASON?

ROSHOLTI believed in myself. Despite losing close matches to top level guys during the regular season, I entered the NCAAs with the attitude that I could beat anyone.

 

DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE BEING ONE OF FIVE OKLAHOMA STATE WRESTLERS TO WIN INDIVIDUAL TITLES AT THE 2005 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS.

ROSHOLT It’s neater now than when it actually happened. At the time, we expected to win…It was normal. Today, I realize how rare of an achievement it was.

 

WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO WRESTLE UNDER LEGONDARY WRESTLER, OLYMPIAN, AND COACH JOHN SMITH?

ROSHOLTIt was hard! John had high expectations. He expected us to achieve our potential.

 

WHAT LIFE LESSSON HAVE YOU LEARNED IN WRESTLING THAT APPLIES IN YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LIFE?

ROSHOLTThere’s a multitude of things I learned. The first being the expectation that you can do more. Another, the understanding that things that are hard are beneficial for you.

 

DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE COMPETING IN MIXED MARTIAL ARTS.

ROSHOLTI enjoyed it. I don’t believe I saw my full potential, but I am happy with what I learned and got out of it…that’s were my road took me.

 

ARE YOU STILL INVOLVED WITH WRESTLING OR MIXED MARTIAL ARTS?

ROSHOLT Yes, both of my kids are involved with the local club. I support and help out in the room.


CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT YOUR LIFE TODAY. WHERE YOU LIVE, FAMILY, CAREER, AND ANY ACTIVITIES YOU ARE INVOLVED IN?

ROSHOLT I’ve lived in Oklahoma since my first day at Oklahoma State…never left. I am married with two kids (Daughter/Son). I met my wife at Oklahoma State. I am very active with my family. We have a ranch and farm where we raise beef to feed America.

 

HIGH SCHOOL – COLLEGE – MMA ACCOLADES

 

MIXED MARTIAL ARTS

  • MMA Fighter – 2007 – ’12 (UFC, WEC, Bellator, and Shark Fights)
  • MMA Record – 12-5
  • WEIGHT GROUPS: Middleweight (2007-’11)/Light Heavyweight (2012)
  • TEAM: Team Cobra Kai Jiu-Jitsu/Team Takedown

 

COLLEGE – OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY

WEIGHT: 184/197

GRADUATE: 2006

 

COLLEGE ACCOLADES

  • 3x NCAA Division I National Champion, 2003 – ’06
  • 4x NCAA All-American – 2003 (1st, 184), ’04 (3rd, 184), ’05 (1st, 197), ’06 (1st, 197)
  • Big 12 Conference Champion, 2004
  • 3x Big 12 Conference finalist
  • Oklahoma State’s fifteenth 3x NCAA Champion/tenth 4x All-American
  • Member of four NCAA Championship teams – 2003, ’04, ’05, ‘06
  • Overall record – 105 wins/20 losses (.840)

 

HIGH SCHOOL – SANDPOINT H.S., IDAHO

COACH: Mike Randles

WRESTLING CLUB: Top Dog WC

WEIGHT GROUP: 189

GRADUATE: Class of 2001

RECORD: 131 – 8

 

HIGH SCHOOL ACCOLADES

  • 3x Idaho State champion (first 4A wrestler to achieve this feat)
  • Member of 2001 State Championship team – Sandpoint H.S.
  • Junior Fargo All-American – FS ’01 (3rd)
  • Junior Fargo Freestyle National Champion ’00 (11 straight technical falls) *OW
  • Cadet Fargo All-American – FS ’98 (5th)
  • 2001 NHSCA Senior National Champion/All-American
  • Wrestling USA Magazine Dream Team ‘01
  • ASICS Tiger High School All-American – First Team ‘01
  • ASICS Tiger High School All-American – Second Team ‘00
  • Member of USA Team – Dapper Dan Classic ’01
  • Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award – Idaho ’01








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