Zachary Hampton Wrestles In States


Karissa Gonzales, Staff Reporter

The pounding of his heartbeat rings in his ears, his eyes locked onto his opponent while studying their techniques to plan his next moves. He grabs his opponent, wrestling to pin them down to the mat with only a few seconds left on the clock. The cheering from his team, coaches and family filled his ears after he realized what he had just accomplished. 

Junior Zachary Hampton placed 5th in this year’s state wrestling meet. Hampton recognizes that he and his team have worked hard all season long and couldn’t have asked for a better way to end the season.

“It is an incredible feeling because not only does it represent how hard I pushed myself but it shows how hard the team pushes itself,” Hampton said. “Next year we’ll work hard to get more vipers on the podium.” 

Wrestling in Hampton’s family is a tradition. Hampton’s dad wrestled when he was in elementary and high school, while his uncle wrestled in high school and four cousins currently wrestle or have wrestled in the past. He also has a little brother in 8th grade who wrestles and is looking forward to joining the Viper team next year.

“When I was in the second grade my dad signed me up for wrestling because he thought it would help make me tougher, get in better shape, teach me dedication and would build my character,” Hampton said. “Plus he believed in a quote from Dan Gable ‘Once you have wrestled everything else in life is easy.’”

This was one of Hamptons biggest accomplishments in high school wrestling, however wrestling isn’t the only sport he’s serious about. Hampton competes in Taekwondo on the national and international level all year round. He believes that both sports compliment each other and add to his overall skill level by bringing techniques from both sports together.

“I’ve been invited to the Olympic training center in Denver to compete a couple of times and have competed in international events earning a Silver Medal in the Canadian Open, a Silver Medal in the US Open and a Gold Medal in the President’s Cup Pan American Tournament for Team USA,” Hampton said. “Now it’s time to raise the bar even higher on my goals for both wrestling and Taekwondo.”

Even though Hampton placed at the state meet this year, he still has several goals he’d like to accomplish. One of them is to cross the 100 win threshold, cross the 50 pins mark, (explanation), and win the State Championship in 2023. But long term, he hopes to take his wrestling career into a military one. 

“Right now, one of my goals is to get accepted to the US Naval Academy or West Point to wrestle and simultaneously compete in Taekwondo,” Hampton said. “However, I am also open to any possible scholarship offers for wrestling that might come my way.”

Hampton said he wants to improve his skills by training after practice. That training will include running and cardio conditioning, cross-training, weight lifting and much more. He said wrestling is a very demanding sport that requires a willingness to train and push yourself harder than your opponent; to be the best you can be when you’re straining every muscle in your body in the 6 minutes on the mat.

“It’s also a sport that requires a lot of strategy and mental focus,” Hampton said. “You have to be in the right mindset when you walk on that mat and you need to do your homework studying your opponent and the wrestling moves they use to develop a strategy to beat them.”

Hampton recognizes that wrestling is not only an individual sport but also a team sport. He said the team counts on you to do your part and win your match even though you’re alone on the mat. He also recognized how Coach Muck and Coach Banda have put so much time into the wrestling team to help reach their full potential, and do everything they can to help each individual achieve their goals.

“I’d love to shout out to Coach Muck and Coach Banda for putting all the time and effort into this program to make us better wrestlers and, more importantly, better people,” Hampton said. “I’d love to shout out to my teammates because I couldn’t have accomplished this dream without them. I have to say, a wrestling team is the closest thing you find to a family in sports.”