by Jake Kessler
After several tough losses at the district and regional tournaments, only two wrestlers are advancing on to the Palace. Those being Trenton Holyfield at 160, and Tate Knapp at 215. Both have had exceptional seasons with Holyfield going to state with a nearly flawless 43-1 record and Knapp with a record of 40-4.
Holyfield will be making his second trip to the Palace – achieving All-State last year – and is looking to become a State Champion. When asked about his coming experiences at state, he responded with: “I’m looking forward to the hype and getting on the podium. I’m also looking forward to finally being able to relax and enjoy my time. I’ve defined myself all the way up to this point. Now it’s time to chill out and do what I do best (win).” With his confidence and experience competing against the greatest wrestlers in the state, Holyfield should have a great chance at letting his hard work pay off at the top of the podium.
Knapp has had a quite surprising season at that. He has come out of the blue and had an amazing season on varsity after wrestling on JV for his first three years. Head Coach, Gregg Stoel had a lot to say about Tate including: “I am not going to say Tate’s success is a total surprise because I know what a dedicated and hard worker he is. However, I do not recall anyone in my 18 years as head coach become a state qualifier after being in a backup roll for three years. I am totally blown away by the patience he has shown at sticking with a sport and becoming better every year in a society that only wants instant gratification. So if there is anyone who deserves to be successful, it is Tate.”
Both Holyfield and Knapp are looking well in the standings for the first round of the tournament. Trenton took first at regionals, therefore; he will be facing someone who took fourth. Tate came in second at regionals so he will be wrestling someone who came in third. Both wrestlers should be wrestling lesser ranked opponents in the first round which will give them a good start to the tournament.
Trenton and Tate have been working toward the Palace their entire wrestling careers, and the time has come for them to be successful. They head to Detroit representing not only the Hamilton wrestling program, but every Hawkeye back home. Win or lose, it will always be a highlight of their high school careers, and the memories will last a lifetime.