Mead’s Jake Trotter is something of an enigma, juxtaposing the physical side of athletics with the creativity of a musician.
Trotter is the defending State 4A 215-pound wrestling champion and All-GSL football defender who also writes, mixes and produces original songs, providing vocals and musical backing on several instruments. He carries a 4.0 grade-point average and aspires to be a doctor.
“I would like music to be more than a hobby, but I’m not putting all my eggs in one basket,” Trotter said.
Answering the obvious question – How does he do it all? – Trotter explained.
“People complain that they have no time, but 24 hours is longer than people make it sound,” he said. “I like to keep busy. What else would I do with the time? I’d rather record than watch television. That’s entertainment to me. I’m so A.D.D. I need to have things to do.”
Trotter is one of three returning Greater Spokane League state wrestling champions, joining sophomore teammate Jordan Rogers and Jake Mason from University.
The eclectic and stocky 215-pounder was a surprise arrival at Mead as a freshman, moving from Nevada.
“Right before football I met him at summer camp,” coach Phil McLean said. “He was pretty raw wrestling-wise, but was so strong and athletic I knew he’d be pretty good.”
Trotter became a state alternate that year, was eliminated early from state as a sophomore, but last year won it all.
He sees a certain relationship with his involvement both in sports and music.
“Everything about me as an individual comes through in wrestling and how I write my songs as well,” he said. “Writing a song I can express how I feel, not only through the lyrics, but the mood the song creates. On the wrestling mat, where it’s me and the other guy, I express myself by which moves I do.”
Trotter has been influenced by groups like Nirvana, Three Days Grace and Senses Fail – a hint of grunge with a softer side, he said. But his playlist and tastes are diverse.
Trotter doesn’t read music. Influenced by an older brother, Brett, he took up drums and played percussion through elementary school. He has added piano, guitar and synthesizer. He owns a complete studio’s worth of microphones, mixers and processors where he produces his music. On Dec. 20 he’ll go into a studio, “to record for real with a producer and everything.”
Such virtuosity meshes seamlessly, if unconventionally, with contact athletics. Trotter, all-league at defensive end, led the top-seeded 4A Panthers in tackles during the football season.
“Jake was an inside destroyer,” McLean said. “He was pretty dominant.”
Wrestling, however, is what could help pay for an education and future in medicine, if not music.
He has competed all four years at 215 pounds.
“I was really intimidated as a freshman. I’d never lost in middle school and didn’t know what to expect,” Trotter said.
He was ranked No. 4 in state the next year, but once on the floor at Tacoma, “got caught like a deer in the headlights. People I had pinned before placed. I went three and out.”
Last year Trotter he cruised to the finals winning 4-2 for the 4A title. He’s a state freestyle champion who competed with Team Washington in the nationals this summer and set a record for the most pins in the shortest time while competing in Greco-Roman.
“He’s just power and has dynamite hips,” McLean said. “The thing about him is the bigger the show, the better he is. He’s one of those kids who really rises to the occasion.”
The list of universities seeking him runs long. Ideally it will be one like Stanford or Penn where academics and wrestling mesh and where he can dabble in his music.
“I don’t think music is ever going to be on hold. I would love to be a producer,” he said. “If that works out, it would be a dream come true.”
Between now and the end of February, he’ll be content to beat a tattoo against opponents on a wrestling mat.