Joe Hester finally got his district championship.
As a freshman, he finished runner-up at 106 pounds. He was third at 126 pounds as a sophomore and a junior.
But following a 6-5 decision of Lake-Lehman’s Bob Long in the finals, the Montrose senior captured the 132-pound title at the District 2 Class 2A Championships.
En route to the final, Hester recorded pins of nine seconds in the quarterfinals and 42 seconds in the semifinals. His effort earned him the Most Outstanding Wrestler award.
In addition to the title, his win in the district final was the 127th of his career. That ties the school record set by Mike Cole in 1984.
Here is more from Hester’s Athlete of the Week interview:
Favorite teams: Penn State wrestling
Athletes I admire: Zain Retherford. He wrestled for Penn State. I like his relentless pace.
Favorite food: Spaghetti. Is there a food you abstain from eating during the season, then is one of the first things you eat when the season is over? Pretty much all food. Nothing that’s sweet. When the season is over, pretty much anything I see, I’m going for it.
Superstitions and rituals: I just try to get in the right mindset before a match. I just try to visualize the match beforehand and what I’m going to do in the match. Then I’ll say a prayer and go out and wrestle.
Three people I’d like to have dinner with: Zain Retherford, Toby Keith, Luke Combs
As a freshman, you lost in the district final to Lake-Lehman’s Bob Long. Even though it was three years ago, was there anything you learned from that match that helped you when you met him again in this year’s final? It drove me a little bit. I wanted to beat him because of that. That’s all. I wanted a little bit of redemption.
Were you wondering if you ever we going to win a district title? It’s always been a goal. It stunk that I wasn’t able to do it before in previous years. But that was a big thing. I wanted to win a district title before I graduated. After I did it, I felt like a celebrity for a while with all the texts and stuff. I’m happy to be able to be a district champion.
Reaction when you were named Most Outstanding Wrestler: I was super grateful because the coaches vote on that. For them to pick me, it was super exciting to be that.
When did you realize you had a shot at reaching Mike Cole’s school record for wins? At the beginning of this season, I thought that if I had a good year, I’d be able to get within reach. Toward the end of the season, yeah, I started counting down the matches, how many I had left and how many (wins) I could pick up. So I was shooting for it, yeah. That was one of my goals this year.
Thoughts on the upcoming Northeast Regionals: I’m excited for them. I’d like to be a regional champ. That’s a goal, too.
What do you feel you have to do to be successful and make it to Hershey for states? I have never been to states. I’ve gone 0-2 at regionals every year unfortunately. I just have to take one match at a time. It’s senior year. Go there (to regionals), have some fun, get after it and see what happens.
Post-graduation plans: I want to major in business in college, but I’m not sure which one yet. I’m not sure if I’m going to wrestle in college. I’m not completely ruling it out. I have a few schools that have talked to me.