Jake Finken and his dad, Dave Finken, who is a former high school state champion in IA.

Newsome High School wrestler Jake Finken finished off his high school career as the Region 2 Champion for his 170 weight class and a berth in the Florida State Wrestling Finals, where he finished in second place. Finken and his family moved to the area from Minnesota when he was a sophomore in high school.

According to his mom, Jan Finken, he has been wrestling since first grade, and he absolutely loves the sport. “His dream was to be in the state championships,” said Jan Finken. “We have spent more than 50 percent of our weekends at wrestling tournaments over the years, and I have come to absolutely love this sport.”

Both Finken’s dad and uncle were state champions at the 1A level when they were in high school.

On March 8-9, the senior completed his high school Folkstyle wrestling career, finishing second at the Florida State Wrestling Championships in the Silver Spurs Arena in Osceola. In the process, he achieved his lifelong dream, which his mom said was the moment that he had dreamed of since he was in kindergarten.

Finken is the first wrestler from Newsome High School to be a state finalist. “It was a pretty cool moment,” said Finken. “I’ve been wrestling since first grade, and seeing everything come together and accumulate into this result was cool—to see it all add up and come out with a good finish for my career.”

Finken will be attending UCF next year, where he plans to participate in the competitive club wrestling program. He wants to major in computer engineering as well. As far as wrestling goes, Finken hopes to place in Freestyle Nationals this summer, as well as placing in Greco-Roman Nationals. He wants to eventually coach wrestling at some point in the future.

“He’s a trailblazer in that he’s Newsome’s first finalist,” said Newsome Head Wrestling Coach Stephen Gilbert. “I think he’s shown others how to get to that final, championship level. I think you’re about to see some state champions at Newsome, and Jake’s accomplishments have a huge influence on that.”

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Nick Nahas has written for the Osprey Observer since 2016. He has lived in the Valrico area since 2002 and has his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. He is dedicated to covering sports in Hillsborough County at every level.