Whether or not he accomplishes his goal, there's no doubt Smith has made an impact on the program, Harper said.
"Jake's a leader on this team," said Harper, who is in his ninth season guiding the Patriots. "Everybody looks up to him. He's a state champion. They know he's put the time in and has worked hard.
"All these young kids and teammates want to accomplish the same thing. They see what hard work does for you. Our kids see with Jake that, if you work hard, this can happen and they see the outcome of hard work. It makes them work harder."
Three other Patriots earned first-round victories to join Smith in the championship bracket, while one dropped to the consolation bracket.
Freshman Sam Moore earned an 8-3 decision against Point Pleasant junior Caleb Leslie at 106 pounds, while junior Jensen Lorea claimed a 9-1 decision over Cabell Midland freshman Adam Whitmore at 126 pounds. At 285 pounds, junior Jack Skidmore secured a 7-0 decision over Hedgesville junior Anthony Carter. All advanced to the quarterfinals.
Dropping down to the consolation bracket at 120 pounds was sophomore David Pancake, who was pinned 3:46 into the match by Brooke senior Matthew Beaman.
"Having Jake in the practice room with these younger kids, he gets to work out with them and it helps," said Harper, who has known Smith since he was 5 years old. "That's why you look at the teams that are great, they've got guys in the wrestling room that can push each other and that's what we're starting to get here at GW.
"We got a few kids that are rubbing off on our younger kids, pushing them and beating on them a little it and it makes them better because anytime you wrestle tough competition, it's going to make you better."
Contact sportswriter Jay Fankhauser at jay.f...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4871.