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Hawks’ big day leads Holt to GAC wrestling championship

Holt wrestler Colton Hawks [center]won the 195-pound championship at the GAC Tournament at Warrenton High on Saturday, Jan. 5.

Heading into the Gateway Athletic Conference Tournament last weekend, the Holt wrestling team was a bit short-handed. But when the Indians hit the mats at Warrenton High, Colton Hawks and his teammates made sure they would come home with the big prize.

Hawks, a junior, won at 195 pounds, junior Carter Smith won at 126 pounds and Holt won the team championship, scoring 170 points to top Fort Zumwalt South for the title. Holt last won the championship in 2016.

Zumwalt South finished with 156 points. Last year’s champ, Francis Howell, finished third while Howell Central, Timberland, Fort Zumwalt North, Washington, Fort Zumwalt West, Francis Howell North and Liberty rounded out the top 10 team standings.

It was a satisfying day for the Indians, who also saw second-place performances from Hayden Ferrell at 113 pounds, Nathan Undertaljo at 138 pounds and Cole Mueller at 220 pounds. William Wolfson took third at 152 pounds.

“Our team is comprised of a lot of young kids and older kids combined and they all came out and wrestled great,” Holt coach Andrew Hammond said. “We had a couple of kids step up, who placed on the back side [of the lineup)] For us, it was a big team effort.”

Hawks led the way for Holt with his third GAC championship as he rolled through his four matches. He was unstoppable as he recorded four first-period pins, including his championship win over Troy’s John Hepburn at 1:44 of the first period.

“He is a special kid to watch because he works his butt off. He trains very, very hard, and we’re going in the right direction with him. He’s always fun to watch,” Hammond said of Hawks. “He’s a two-time state medalist and that says a lot for him and his ability to wrestle.”

Hawks said, “I’ve just been super aggressive in matches early, and I like to work for a couple takedowns and get a pin.”

He credited his improved defensive technique to work from the summer that allowed him to win 22 matches so far this winter.

Other local top finishers in the tournament included Mason Apple of Fort Zumwalt East taking the 106-pound title, Eric Lovelace of Francis Howell winning the 113-pound championship, Josh Kyle of Francis Howell winning at 120 pounds, and Ryan Skillington winning at 285 pounds.

Francis Howell Central had three champions in Andrew Godier at 138 pounds, Corey Wait at 152 pounds and Austin Smith at 170 pounds.

Although the Indians didn’t have their regular starting line in place for the GAC Tourney, Hawks said the team was strong.

“We have other guys filling the spots, so it wasn’t really any difference for us,” Hawks said. “When we get those guys back we’re going to be even better and state is really the goal for us, I think.”






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