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WINNING WAYS: Cole Householder Reaches 100 Wins; Announces Verbal Commitment to U.S. Naval Academy

BROOKVILLE, Pa. (EYT) – In front of a home crowd at the Ultimate Duals, Brookville Raiders junior Cole Householder went over the century mark in career victories. It’s just one of the many goals that remained on his sheet, but it’s an accomplishment worth taking time to celebrate.

“Knowing I’ve achieved this with a season and a half left is pretty awesome,” said a cheerful Householder. “To accomplish it at home is super special to me.”

Householder picked up win number 98 in a dual meet against Johnsonburg on Thursday and picked up win number 100 in the third of five matches of the Ultimate Duals with a pin of Ben Catullo of Burrell. He went 5-0 on the day, with three of his five victories coming by fall. He now stands at 102-21 for his career with 38 pins and 29-3 in his 2023-24 campaign.

The former state place-finisher began his days on the mat in the first grade. He’s been wrestling at a mostly high-level for nearly all of his life. He placed seventh in Junior Olympic states as a 10-year-old and he says this was a defining moment that made him think he could be an achiever in the sport when it was his turn to wrestle for the juggernaut that is Brookville Raiders varsity wrestling program.

Householder has become a two-time District 9 champion, a two-time regional place finisher, a two-time state qualifier, and the seventh overall wrestler as a freshman at 120 pounds. His sophomore season was one that in his mind was a disappointment because he didn’t make it back to the podium like he had the year prior. But wrestling with a torn meniscus certainly didn’t aid him. The torn meniscus is the second one he’s suffered in his career; one on each knee. It’s shown him just how quickly the sport can be taken away, as both rehab processes have been humbling for the Division I recruit. “I know I’m capable of way more and I know I’ve been preparing, especially for gaining that mental edge on opponents.”

Cole Householder is pictured competing at the 2022 PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships. Photo by Molly Zimmerman.

Wrestling may be his number one sport, but it’s not the only sport he’s excelled in during his time as a varsity athlete. Householder is a two-time state qualifier in cross county and ran at states as a leg of a 4x800m distance relay team as a freshman. “There are still many goals I haven’t reached that still fuel me,” noted the Navy wrestling verbal commit. “I’m looking forward to having more opportunities as my career continues.”

There are many people who Householder acknowledges played a role in helping him become the athlete he is today. His Junior Olympic and youth coaches Kacey Belfiore and Andy Viglione are two men he is thankful for teaching him the techniques as a youngster in the sport. Whether it was in the wrestling room or by throwing mats out at the local YMCA, these two coaches invested their time to help Cole get the reps and knowledge needed to be successful.

He’s also wrestled in the off-season with Bad Karma Wrestling Club in Grove City and Partner Trained Wrestling Club out of Clarion that’s helped him remain locked in and improve the finer details of his wrestling skill set. The club features coaches with many years of coaching experience, along with experience as wrestlers at the college level.

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He appreciates his head coach Dave Klepfer because he’s not just been a coach at the varsity level, but someone who was in his corner well before getting to the varsity level. “He’s always believed I could do anything I set out to do,” said Householder of his head coach. “I’ll always be thankful he’s been in my corner since I was a young wrestler.”

The future Navy Midshipmen also acknowledges the investment and sacrifice his parents Tina and Chad have made for him and his younger brother Cody to be successful in all that they do. “I know how much my mom cares about my success because of how nervous she gets before every match. She cares so much and my dad has amazing confidence in me and always tells me he doesn’t think I can lose. I’m so thankful to have these amazing people around me.”

Householder gave his verbal commitment to Navy wrestling in November but has kept his decision more private until recent weeks. Growing up, military service was something that always intrigued him. More specially, the discipline it takes to be a Navy Seal was something he still finds interesting. But what it really came down to with Navy was life past college and wrestling.

“Both the academic and athletic side are there with Navy. I also have so much respect for Navy’s head coach Cary Kolat and when he offered me a chance to be on his team, I didn’t have to think too long about it. I also didn’t want a large college experience and Navy is not a big place. But the number one thing to me was how the Naval Academy can help me be set up to succeed after college. I would like to go to medical school one day and I know they’ll also help me do that.”

As Cole Householder reminisces on this special moment, he can’t help but to think about all those community members who have also fueled his dream. From donations to help him travel to wrestle at national to the well wishes he receives before matches and tournaments, growing up in Brookville continues to mean everything to him. “Everyone knows everyone in our town and does what they can to support you in the ways they can. I’ll always appreciate that about Brookville,” he said.