From the mat to the business world

Annaliese Witmer, Staff Reporter

One of Bellefonte’s most respected wrestlers, Jude Swisher, has big goals going into his senior year. Jude has been wrestling for Bellefonte High School for three years and is a familiar face around the mat. 

“My goal is to be number one in the country. I know I am good enough and have the best training,” Jude said. 

He is so determined to reach his goal that, after he graduates next spring, Jude will be continuing his academic and athletic career at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, as a Division I wrestler.  

Jude’s interest in wrestling started when he was 6, when his dad, Brandon Swisher, signed him up for wrestling. Brandon had always known he wanted his boys to wrestle, being a former wrestler and coach himself.  Jude hated wrestling at first. 

“I cried before, during, and after every practice for my first year or two,” Jude said. 

However, his feelings towards wrestling took a turn around his eighth grade year, when M2 Training Center opened.

“I really started loving wrestling when the M2 training center opened. I remember going home after my first practice and telling my dad, ‘This is where I need to be.’”

After he joined the M2 Training Center, Jude stopped getting so nervous before matches \ and caring about what other people are doing,” Jude said. 

In his eigth grade year, he began enjoying wrestling as not only a player, but also as a fan. Due to his love for wrestling, he and Sam Herring, from Johnstown, opened Home Mat Advantage. 

“I didn’t start getting into wrestling as a fan until my eighth grade year. That’s when I started doing it for myself and not for my dad or anyone else,” Jude said. 

The next steps for HMA when Jude goes to college are undetermined, however, this is not the last we will hear from Jude Swisher and Sam Herring. 

“It was a lot and took a lot of discipline, but I don’t think about balance in life too much. I feel it just kinda happens. I do set priorities which for me look like: one, church; two, family; three, school; and four, managing wrestling. Everything else comes after that, ” Jude said.

Jude will be going to the Wharton School of Business at PENN. 

“The major factors that attracted me to PENN were the RTC [Regional Training Center], incoming recruits, how close it is to home, and the spiritual aspect of PENN, ” he said.

Jude is most excited about the variety of food Philadelphia offers, exploring the city, and making friends. 

Jude has come a long way to get to this point. 

“My parents, grandparents, siblings, all my coaches at M2, all my coaches at Victory, all my coaches at Bellefonte, and all the sacrifices I have made and that have been made for me… I am not done yet. I still have 1 more year at the high school level, four more years at the college level, and however many years the Lord gives me at the Senior Level,” he said. 

Bellefonte Area High School varsity wrestling Head Coach, Mr. Michael Maney appreciates Jude’s great personality.  

“He is a very goal-oriented person and he gets in his mind that whatever the goal is he’s going to put every ounce of effort he has into achieving that goal. He’s very focused, very passionate, he loves what he’s doing…and he sets high standards for himself.”

Coach Maney approves of Jude’s PENN decision. 

“I think it’s a tremendous fit: the high academics, blossoming program with the addition of some Olympians like Jordan Burroughs, and building up their RTC. They had a good showing at the world trials this weekend so I think they are going to continue to build a good thing and he’s going to be a key element in making them thrive as an up-and-coming program. I think it’s perfect academically and athletically for him,” Mr. Maney said.

Jude’s advice for younger wrestlers is  to “keep grinding. Trust in the process and your training.”