Hunter Adams is extremely grateful.
Even though wrestling is an individual sport, the jovial senior is very appreciative of having a large circle of people pulling in the same direction during his prolific career at North Hall High.
And there’s still one more match to go — one of the most important.
Starting Thursday, the defending Class 3A state champion at 182 pounds will look to round out his career with another title in Macon.
And Adams, who has an easy-going personality, knows better than anyone that he couldn’t make it to this stage of success alone.
“I have so much respect for everyone who got me to where I’m at today,” said Adams, who is already signed to wrestle at Appalachian State next year.
Since taking up the sport in about fourth grade with the Junior Trojans Program, Adams immediately felt at home.
Now, the All-American wrestler is trying to return the favor as he serves as a positive role model for the sport in the community.
North Hall’s wrestling program has turned out 15 individual state champions.
And Adams is looking to become the fourth Trojans wrestler to win it all at state twice, their coach Wesley Adams said.
This season, Adams has posted a remarkable 40-2 record, 35 of those wins by pin.
Both losses were against other All-American wrestlers.
One trait that sets Adams apart, North Hall’s coach said, is his senior leader’s ‘relentless’ approach in matches.
“Hunter gets his hands on the other kids early (in the match),” the Trojans’ coach said. “He’s aggressive and capitalizes on mistakes by the other guy.”
Not only does he constantly practice and train to reach peak physical performance, but Adams is also continually working with younger and less-experienced wrestlers to give them pointers.
Despite his success, Adams is extremely humble about his accomplishments.
He rattles off many names of people who have shaped his wrestling career.
“Hunter’s an extremely talented wrestler, but not at all arrogant about it,” North Hall’s coach said. “He’s able to pick something up from everyone he works with.”
None are more important than his parents, Woody and Alex, Hunter said, in addition to his adoring 11-year-old sister Coral.
“Wrestling takes a commitment from the entire family,” Adams said. “They’ve taken me all over the country to wrestle. My mom would get me to school at 6 a.m. for practice before I could drive.”
One of the pinnacles of Adams’ career was taking fifth place at nationals in 2021.
That experience opened up numerous doors in the sport and drew colleges that were interested in recruiting Adams to compete at the next level.
In addition to his success, Adams has been a sponge for knowledge from other elite names in wrestling.
One of his most meaningful relationships, Adams said, is with Trojans assistant coach Paul White, who is in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Since Day 1 in high school, Adams has listened attentively to every piece of advice from White, who was previously a long time head coach at North Hall.
After winning the individual state championship, in 2021, Adams remembers having a memorable conversation with White about how far he’s come in the sport.
“That was very emotional, we were hugging and celebrating, but he told me there’s a lot more left to accomplish,” Adams said.
Adams has also forged a close relationship with his first-year head coach. The two have the same last name, but are not related.
Away from school, Adams also has benefitted greatly from his trainer Peter Yates, who runs Teknique wrestling in Buford.
“He’s (Yates) a great mentor to me,” Adams said. “He pushes me to the point where I need to be at as a wrestler.”
Adams said he was groomed to become elite at wrestling, thanks to a large swath of friends in the North Hall wrestling program, who had great careers and have since graduated, including Logan Hawthorne, Jack Whitmire, Damon Campbell, Tennessee Pass and Logan West.
“We have a very strong Christian team,” Adams said. “Faith is very important.”
Adams remembers some of his first experiences wrestling came at age 10 or 11 when he was able to grapple, on the side, with some of the lighter wrestlers from Truett McConnell University in Cleveland.
That heightened his interest in learning the sport and gave him the encouragement to become successful.
In college, Adams will re-join his former North Hall teammate Dalton Battle in Boone, N.C.
In addition to building his own career, Adams gets out in the community and tries to promote the sport to younger kids in North Hall’s feeder schools.
Along with wrestling, Adams is also an avid angler and is part of North Hall’s fishing team.
“Hunter represents all of our core values in our program at North Hall: love, hard work and accountability,” the Trojans’ coach said.
Traditional state championship
Braulio Cavazos (152)
Alexis Guardado (106), Chris Pruitt (113), Ely Raines (126), D’Angelo Pruitt (132), Angel Solorzano (145), Bryant Barnes (160), Daniel Zaleta (195)
Cody Lee (138), Alex Stoudenmire (145), Justin Gilbert (170), Jacob Hernandez (182), Kevin Gonzalez (195), Caleb Pruitt (285)
Quinn McDowell (152), Seth Larson (160), Kadin Inman (170), Isai Gonzalez (182), Cal Rockenbach (195)
Hayden Biggs (132), Brayden Nance (160), Dylan Roberts (170)
Matthew Lee (113), Dawson Thompson (126), Connor Free (138), Joey Carew (152), Zeke Harris (170), Hunter Adams (182)
Hayden Rose (126), Ethan Crofutt (170), Caleb Beverly (195)
Girls state championship brackets will be released on Tuesday
Compiled by Bill Murphy