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Boys Athlete of the Week: North Hall's Caleb Hamilton

Trojans senior won all seven matches by pin at Hall County Championship

POSTED: January 27, 2014 9:33 p.m.
Nat Gurley/The Times

Caleb Hamilton of North Hall has a hold on East Hall's Dustin Green before winning the 120-pound weight class Saturday at Riverside Military Academy.

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Caleb Hamilton has shown how far dedication and a lot of hard work can carry a high school wrestler. As a senior, the North Hall grappler has become an anchor for his team with 44 wins and 30 pins, heading into tonight’s matches against Habersham Central and Winder-Barrow for Senior Night in Gainesville.

That’s quite a leap from a kid that never won a match in middle school, but continued to wrestle simply out of love and respect for the sport.

On Saturday, Hamilton showed exactly what he means to his team when he swept through the Hall County Championships with seven pins in seven matches and finished the meet as champion of the 120-pound classification from the two-day meet at Riverside Military Academy.

“Seven straight pins is a pretty good run,” North Hall coach Jay Hargis said. “If a kid can make it through the first round against Caleb, they’re doing pretty good.”

On top of a great personal accomplishment, Hamilton was also the wrestler that secured the Trojans’ team championship at the Hall County meet.

Tied against Chestatee and down to the last weight class, Hamilton stepped to the mat and delivered just as everyone on his team knew he would.

North Hall’s 39-35 win against the War Eagles was the sixth match, but secured the team championship with only one opposing school remaining on the weekend.

“It was a great feeling to help my team like I did this weekend,” Hamilton said. “This is what I’ve worked for all season.

“Everyone on the team was treating me like a big superstar, but really it was the whole team that earned us the title.”

This is crunch time in wrestling season.

The Area 4-AAA traditional tournament will be held Friday and Saturday at Elbert County High, followed by the Class AAA East state sectionals Feb. 8 at Morgan County High in Madison. The all-classification state championship meet is Feb. 13-15 at the Gwinnett Arena in Duluth.

The fire in Hamilton’s belly this season is his desire to place at the state championships. Last year at 113, he was denied a trip to state after losing in the quarterfinals and consolation semifinals, placing fifth at Area — just one spot away from the top four needed to make it to state.

Hargis feels that had Hamilton made it to state in 2013, he would have placed fifth given the strength of Area 4-AAA.

However, North Hall’s coach identified Hamilton as someone who would persevere through any challenge a long time ago. Last season, he was given the team award as the best practice partner for North Hall.

That hard work continued through the summer when Hamilton trained with the goal to make it to state and place in 2014.

He enlisted the help of assistant coach Patrick Holcomb, and received training from Jefferson High grads Cam and Cason Thurmond, brothers who won a combined five state titles in their careers with the Dragons.

“They really worked with me on remaining mentally tough and how to train,” Hamilton said, “to make sure to keep my hands on the opponent at all times.”


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