“It’s fun. I love playing in front of people, so I enjoy it. I’ve no idea of rhythm or reasoning, it’s just something I enjoy doing,” said Naperville Central wrestler Jacob Smetters.
Naperville Central wrestler Jacob Smetters may have been the lone area state qualifier last season, but the senior has skills beyond just putting his opponents on their backs. Smetters also enjoys spending time outside of the wrestling room playing the guitar and even singing along with the tunes.
“I was always interested in music. I started out with tuba and fourth-grade band, so I was always just kind of involved in the band program. So going into sixth grade, what really got me into the guitar was the sixth-grade music unit and the music class had a guitar unit,” Said Smetters.
Representing our country
One of his memorable moments is playing the National Anthem once a year before a Naperville Central home wrestling meet, including a recent star-spangled performance on the team’s senior night against Metea Valley. However, Redhawk meets were not the first time he rocked out the anthem. When Smetters first began to hit the mats as a kid, the anthem was played on guitar by another wrestler at a tournament, and that gave his dad the idea for Jacob to pursue that goal as well.
“So when I started picking up guitar, he put had an idea saying you should play the National Anthem for a tournament. So in seventh grade for the Fox Valley tournament, I played the anthem, and from there, I just kind of started playing it at different events like the 8th grade conference and freshman and junior year,” said Smetters.
His first performance in high school came during his freshman year, when the Redhawks wrestled the Huskies in an outdoor meet, with wrestling being moved to the spring of 2021 because of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“My team was very confused when I came out with the guitar because I didn’t think they knew what was going on. So I think it was only Porter who I had talked to because I was very new to the program. I didn’t know many people, so not many people knew what was going on until I told them. They’re like, okay, that’s cool because it was the outside meet and that was a good time to play it,” said Smetters.
Balancing music, class and wrestling
Smetters takes lessons when he can, but that time is limited due to school and wrestling. So far, he is making of best of those opportunities to learn more about music, along with rocking and rolling at family events and even in the school talent show. Wrestling and music always have their learning curves, but one thing both have in common is technique. Smetters has learned a lot of different notes when it comes to finding that perfect tune.
“I’ve learned a lot of like discipline through practicing and developed more fine motor skills, my fingers, more precision with fingers. I’ve learned lots of rhythm, and music theory is another big one that I’ve been forced to learn,” Smetters stated.
“While Smetters continues to rock the moves on the wrestling mats, he will continue to rock the classics,” said Naperville Sports Weekly Reporter Patrick Codo.
Smetters rocking and rolling down the road
Smetters will attend Michigan State University this fall to study history and education and will continue to learn new notes before he heads out to East Lansing. But for now, Smetters and the rest of the Redhawk grapplers are ready for a strong postseason beginning with the DVC tournament coming up. They picked up where they left off last season by going 5-0 in the conference regular season and have their sights set on another shot at the state tournament. While Smetters has made a name for himself inside the circle, being known for music performances could be next on the docket.
“I want to start getting my name out there, playing gigs, going out to different restaurants and bars, and performing for people,” said Smetters. For more prep sports stories, visit the Naperville Sports Weekly page!