When wrestling season begins, Hamilton Hewitt doesn’t like to think about the state championship he won in February. Or in 2013. Or in 2012.
But Hewitt enters his senior season with SouthLake Christian’s wrestling team in a good position to become the school’s first four-time state champion.
“My sophomore year, it was kind of a distraction,” Hewitt said. “I was coming off winning my first title as a freshman. After that, I just put all that in the back of my head.
“Every season’s a new season, I can’t really rest on what I did the season before.”
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Hewitt won his first state title as a freshman, taking the 138-pound weight class at the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association tournament. He stepped up a weight class as a sophomore and won again at 147 pounds.
Last year, Hewitt had his best season yet, winning his second straight 147-pound state title and third NCISAA state title overall, finishing the season with a 54-6 record.
Should Hewitt get that fourth state title, he would become the first NCISAA wrestler to do so since Forsyth Country Day’s Johnny Watson won four straight between 2006-2009.
That also puts a target on Hewitt, who knows that he’ll get the best shot from every wrestler he faces this season.
“I look forward to it,” Hewitt said. “Win or lose, it just makes me better. I really look forward to those big matches. I would say that’s where I thrive the best, those high-pressure situations.
“A lot of people kind of get anxious, they start doing things real quick and not thinking through what they’re doing. I’ve tried to be real deliberate and focused with every single one of my moves. I wrestle every single match the same way.”
Hewitt picked up the sport from watching his older brother, Joe Hewitt, a former wrestler at SouthLake Christian who had his career cut short by a shoulder injury.
“I’d been watching him since I was in first or second grade,” said Hamilton Hewitt, who has a career record of 106-18 in three seasons. “I knew I wasn’t going to be doing a lot of running, because I’ve got real short legs.”
But Hewitt has his own style, according to SouthLake Christian coach John Nerness.
“He likes to go out there and wear his heart on his sleeve,” Nerness said. “He can be lazy at times in the practice room. But whenever the big event’s there, he likes to show up. I’ve had guys who are the opposite: hard-nosed in the practice room, but very timid when the lights go on. Those types don’t want to be there, but he wants to be there.
“Hamilton is going to show up in the big events, and I believe he enjoys it. Since he’s now a senior, we want him to really enjoy and have a good time this year. Getting that fourth state title would be icing on the cake if he gets it, but I know every time he goes out there, he’s going to put his heart on his sleeve and go for it.”