Blake Hooks final wrestling season did not start the way he had hoped.Sidelined by a fractured right hand suffered during football season, the Mount Pleasant senior was forced to be a spectator for the first month of the season.But Hooks, who had bounced back from tearing his right meniscus twice during his sophomore year, did not get discouraged.Blake has tremendous drive to be successful, said Mount Pleasant wrestling coach Greg Hinson. Hes had a tendency to be resilient and bounce back from adversity.That mentality allowed Hooks, who won the South Piedmont Conference 170-pound title, to go into Feb. 22-23s 3A Midwest Regionals at Hickory Ridge with a 22-3 mark. Making his return to the mat at Central Davidsons Jerry Hampton Invitational in mid-December, Hooks went 2-1 to finish the tournament as runner-up in his 170-pound weight class. He would win the next 12 matches.Despite his strong start, Hooks said he was rusty as he continued to adjust to a weakened grip from having his hand immobilized for 10 weeks to allow the surgical insertion of a plate and six screws to heal. He also struggled to get back into shape and keep his weight down.Hooks, who wrestled at 182 until February, tried to make the most of his situation. He couldnt make any excuses.Its senior year, the 6-foot senior said. I couldnt do anything about it. Just had to make it work.He was driven by goals of qualifying for his first 3A state tournament, having missed it last year by one spot after finishing fifth in his weight class at last years 3A Midwest regional.I have to make it, said Hooks as he prepared for regionals. This is my last chance.Hooks said he may not have even been in a spot to compete for a chance to go to states if it wasnt for his twin brother, Blain, who filled in for Hooks at 170 before letting his brother take over to make a late-season push.Hooks, whos 4 1/2 minutes older than his fraternal twin, considers wrestling his main sport. He started wrestling in fifth grade and is a four-year wrestler at Mount Pleasant.Blain, who has wrestled for the Tigers to stay in shape for baseball the last two seasons, knew how much work his brother had put into the sport and stepped aside.Blain made a very noble decision, said Hinson. He very much wanted Blake to do well.Hooks think hes come a long way since his days of overpowering his opponents to win a middle-school conference title. He recalls how much work he had to put into crafting his technique to be able to compete in high school.Hooks hopes to close his year his journey on a good note.This is now a mission that I have to finish, he said. Its an internal mission to keep going and strive to do the best I can. Editors note: This story went to press before the outcome of the regionals was known.
Friday, Feb. 22, 2013
Mount Pleasant wrestler bounces back from injuries
Mount Pleasant's Blake Hooks rebounded from a hand injury to win the South Piedmont Conference's 170-pound title. SERGIO TOVAR - email@example.com