HUNTERSVILLE – State champion Ham Hewitt made quick work of most opponents on the wrestling mat.

Hewitt, a junior at SouthLake Christian Academy, won his third straight state championship last month when he won the 145-pound division title at the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association tournament. He is The Herald Weekly Wrestler of the Year.

Hewitt’s 54-6 record included 37 victories by pinning his opponent. Thirty of the pins happened in less than two minutes (wrestling matches are six minutes long). Of those 30, 11 happened in less than a minute.

Hewitt got in. Hewitt won. Hewitt got out. Don’t turn away or you might miss his dominance.

“I liked to create more of an efficient way to pin,” he said. “I was more effective at doing it than in previous years.”

Hewitt also won twice by technical fall (a lead of 15 or more points) and three times by a major decision (leads of 8-14 points). At the NCISAA state tournament, his scorecard en route to the championship read – pin, pin and pin.

He didn’t fall into the emotional trap of resting on his laurels as a defending champion.

“Last year at the state tournament I saw seniors who were three-time champions get beat in the final,” he said. “You can’t take anything for granted. My coaches kept me from getting overconfident.”

Hewitt said when SouthLake’s team entered itt wrestling room for practice, last year’s performance remained outside.

“Our coaches kept telling us that it was a new year, and that anything could happen,” Hewitt said. “They wouldn’t let any of us think that it would be easy.”

Hewitt ended the season on a 21-match winning streak.

“I was wrestling well going into the state tournament and I was confident,” he said. “But not overconfident. I was nervous my freshman and sophomore years. This year in the final I knew I had a lot to lose.”

Some pre-match nerves left Hewitt sick to his stomach (happens often in wrestling). But he said he calmed down, stayed focused, and in typical Hewitt fashion, pinned his opponent in one minute, 52 seconds.

Hewitt, despite missing about half of last season with an injury, returned to win the state title at 145 pounds. As a freshman, he was state champion at 138 pounds. This season, he won again to create another set of memories.

“We built a bunch of bonds as teammates and I got a lot closer to them,” Hewitt said. “I am grateful for all the help of my coaches. And, I couldn’t have done it without my training partners.”

 

HERALD WEEKLY 2014 WRESTLING COACH OF THE YEAR

Hough High brought old habits into its new conference.

The Huskies’ wrestling team dominated the first year of the MECKA 4A conference by winning the regular-season and conference tournament championships. It was the second straight season Hough won both titles, which makes coach Tripp Rogers the Herald Weekly’s Wrestling Coach of the Year.

Rogers, who also won the award last year, led his squad to the final championship of the I-MECK 4A conference in 2013. This year, Rogers’ squad was deep, balanced and experienced. The Huskies went 31-3 in dual-team matches and won two matches in the N.C. playoffs before being eliminated by rival Lake Norman.

Rogers’ team also won five tournaments during the season. Individually, Hough had five conference champs, two regional winners and five wrestlers advance to the state tournament.