Last weekend, the wrestling team and its four district qualifiers went out to compete with some of the top schools at the district competition. This tournament features sixteen teams and hundreds of wrestlers from all over the state, coming to compete for their chance to go to the state tournament. This double elimination style tournament features, in each bracket, the top four wrestlers from four different sectionals. Because of the selectivity of the tournament it is very competitive and wrestlers rarely get an easy match.
To start the Hawks off, three of our four wrestlers faced competitive opponents and ended up losing, all within several points. This rough start made it hard for the team to fight its way back from the bottom but it still managed. After his first match, sophomore Louis DeMarco, went on to win his second match, and barely lose his third match, finishing the season as a District Qualifier with a 41-6 record and an 85% win rate. Sophomore Jeffery Christian wrestling at 170 pounds, put up a tough fight against both his opponents, losing only by several points in each match. Christian, a relatively new wrestler, finished his season with a 14-10 record. Alex Stotter, wrestling at 182 faced a similar path to that of DeMarco. Stotter lost his first match on a “funky” reversal move, but went on to dominate his second match, pinning his opponent in the first period. Stotter’s third match was a close and well fought battle but he was unable to pull out the win, finishing the season as a District Qualifier with a 38-10 record.
The fourth and final wrestler to compete at the District Tournament was Seth King. King returned to Districts this year with a burning desire to go to States. In his first match, Seth won a tough match against an opponent from Tuslaw, who he would later face in his “go-to” match, in a double overtime decision. In his quarter-finals match, Seth once again left nothing on the mat, beating a tough opponent and making it to the semi-finals. In his semi-finals match King faced the undefeated number one seed wrestler, Kollin Moore who had beaten him by 9 points previously in the year. Seth gave Moore the match of his life, barely missing the win with a final score of 5-7. In his next match, Seth faced his previous opponent from Tuslaw to determine whether he would go to states or not. Here King dominated the match, and ensured his place in the top 16 wrestlers that would make their way to Columbus, Ohio the following Saturday.
Seth King is the first wrestler from Hawken School in 11 years to qualify for the State Wrestling Tournament. His victory is not only one that deserves countless congratulations, but also one that marks the start in a new tradition for the Hawken wrestling team. This new start involves many more wrestlers competing at states, and fulfilling their ultimate goal; the goal of representing the Hawken Hawks at the most desirable tournament a wrestler could attend. Many athletes of other sports admire the talent of a wrestler who makes it to the state tournament; however, they along with many others, do not truly understand the desire and motivation that it takes to elevate one’s self to a level such as this. In the state of Ohio, there are over 11,000 wrestlers looking to participate in the state tournament. Of these 11,000 wrestlers only 276 will make it to the state tournament for their division. The sheer accomplishment of attempting to defeat odds like these are admirable, and when someone does overcome these odds; it shows that they have truly fought their way all the way to the top.