Hewitt’s aggressive style has paid off when it matters most
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Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014

Hewitt’s aggressive style has paid off when it matters most

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/10/12/05/1rbyej.Em.138.jpeg|210
    - COURTESY OF KEN BUMGARNER
    SouthLake Christian wrestler Hamilton Hewitt, top, a two-time N.C. Independent School Athletic Association state champion, in action.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/10/12/05/Tkque.Em.138.jpeg|210
    - COURTESY OF GENE LEATHERMAN
    SouthLake Christian wrestler Hamilton Hewitt, top, a two-time N.C. Independent School Athletic Association state champion, in action.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/10/12/05/1009aL.Em.138.jpeg|310
    -

There are talented wrestlers who put up big win totals each season by consistently being just a few points better than their opponents.

Then there is SouthLake Christian’s Hamilton Hewitt.

At 30-4 this season, Hewitt – who wrestles at 145 pounds – has won 23 of his matches by pinfall and holds back-to-back N.C. Independent School Athletic Association state championships.

“Hamilton doesn’t hold back,” SouthLake Christian wrestling coach John Nerness said. “That’s just his personality. You have many have kids with great records and a lot of those wins are squeaked out. (Hewitt’s) always going for that pin.”

It’s a style the junior developed in eighth grade.

“I don’t like to spend a lot of time on the mat when it’s not necessary,” Hewitt said. “I just go out there and try to be very physical.”

His freshman season, Hewitt was trailing a Central Cabarrus senior 11-0 before recording the pin with 30 seconds left in the third period of the match to secure the win.

The come-from-behind victory affirmed his aggressive style.

“The good news is he can be down by eight points and still be dangerous,” said Nerness, whose team is off to an 18-13 start to the season. “As long as he’s on that mat, he can get a pin.”

The flip side of Hewitt’s style is that when he loses, it’s generally by the pin as well. His aggressiveness at times can work against him.

A prime example of this came in the Holy Angles Invitational tournament at the Bojangles Arena in Charlotte on Jan. 3-4, when Mallard Creek’s Ben Cournoyer threw Hewitt to the mat on his way to a 6-2 decision.

“It was tied going into the third period, and he was just able to keep me down on bottom the whole period, and I wasn’t able to escape,” Hewitt said. “Ben’s a good wrestler. I know I need to work more.”

“(Hewitt) pushes so hard that (Cournoyer) was able to lateral drop him,” Nerness said. “(He) only knows forward. He is always aggressive and he will be the whole time he’s out there.”

One thing Hewitt, who has the reputation for being a bit of a jokester on the SouthLake Christian team, has been able to do with remarkable consistently is win matches when they matter the most.

“He can really show up in the big matches,” Nerness said. “His freshman year, he won the whole thing (state title) from the No. 5 seed, and in the process pinned two kids that had already won state titles. He loves those big moments. A lot of guys will get discombobulated, but not him.

“In practice, I can’t say he’s the hardest-working kid. He works hard, but every now and then you need to get on him because he’s so fun-loving, but when it comes to the big match, there’s no doubting that he’s going to be there.”

Asked how it is that he handles the biggest of matches so well, Hewitt couldn’t give an exact answer.

“I get nervous like everyone else and can kind of psych myself out,” he said. “Before states this past year, I was so worried about letting my team down that I threw up right before my first match.”

But once he’s on the mat, those nerves melt away.

“Right as I step on the mat, everything clears,” he said. “All the training and coaching just kicks in.”

Still only a junior, Hewitt is yet to commit to wrestle for a specific college program, but it’s something that Nerness fully expects.

“I know he wants to wrestle in college,” Nerness said. “And I know we can get coaches interested. I just want to see what he can do his final year. I think he could get to the point where he’s really dominating.”

Seth Lakso is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Seth? Email him at sethlakso@gmail.com.

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