Hunting for titles: Dalton's Cole Hunt, Hunter Noland named Co-Wrestlers of the Year

Photo illustration by Matt Hamilton/Daily Citizen-News

Dalton High School's Hunter Noland (left) and Cole Hunt are the 2019-20 Daily Citizen-News Co-Wrestlers of the Year. Editor's note: Proper social distancing guidelines were followed for this photo shoot. Hunt and Noland were photographed separately, then placed together in the same photo.

Dalton High School wrestlers Cole Hunt and Hunter Noland had just one loss and two state championships between them in 2019-2020.

Hunt, a sophomore, pinned all 45 opponents he faced on his way through an undefeated campaign to the 106-pound weight class Class 6A state championship. Noland took the one loss and amassed a 39-1 record. He won the Class 6A state title in the 138-pound weight class in his junior campaign, his second straight Class 6A state championship.

With some time yet to go in already-decorated wrestling careers, Hunt and Noland have one goal after already reaching the mountain top: The two are hunting for more titles.

Hunt and Noland are the 2019-20 Daily Citizen-News Co-Wrestlers of the Year.

A family affair

Wrestling accolades are nothing new to the Hunt family.

Cole's older brother, Tyler, was the recipient of this very award last season after an undefeated state-championship season of his own.

"Since I was 4 years old and he was 7, we've been all over the place wrestling," Cole Hunt said of his older brother. "He's always been kind of a role model to me, and he's pushed me to get better. We've definitely had some rivalry along the way, seeing who's better, having little brawls during practice."

The Hunts live on a farm in Calhoun, where their workmanlike attitude and strength were instilled at an early age.

"We built our house, and framing up the walls and using the hammers builds up grip strength," Hunt said. "There's a lot of hard work and sweat going into farming, and that definitely translates into wrestling."

Tyler Hunt, a 2019 Dalton graduate, won four state championships in his high-school career, and left last fall to wrestle at the Naval Academy, leaving high standards for his little brother.

Cole Hunt burst onto the high school wrestling scene as a freshman, finishing off the year at 63-5. Hunt made it to the state meet in the 106-pound weight class, finishing fourth while watching Tyler win last year's title in the 138-pound division.

"That really motivated me to train harder," Hunt said of his freshman campaign. "It really fueled me, and I trained hard over the season, and it really paid off this season."

With an undefeated mark, which included a pin of the opponent in every single matchup, it sure did.

"I got scored on like once, and it was kind of a fluke," Hunt said. "There isn't really much else to say, I pretty much beat up everybody I wrestled."

"He's a beast," Noland said of Hunt. "He can pretty much take anybody in the state and probably in the nation. He makes it fun in the wrestling room, he and I have a pretty close bond."

Hunt's next goal is that national competition.

In addition to defending his state title next season, Hunt wants to go after more national tournaments.

Though he has two more years left in high school, Hunt can already see his future taking after family.

"I've been thinking about being a firefighter and farmer like my dad," Hunt said.

Full dedication

Like Hunt, Noland had a freshman season fall just short of his ultimate goal. Like Hunt, Noland used that as motivation.

Noland wrestled when he was younger, but knew he was in the right sport when he started receiving recognition for his efforts.

"I heard that you can win state and get rings and stuff like that," Noland said. "In ninth grade, I dedicated myself fully to it."

That freshman season ended with a runner-up finish in Class 6A.

"I was a little bit disappointed," Noland said. "I came back my sophomore season, and I won it. I was like, dang, this is nice."

Noland's sophomore title came in the 126-pound weight class. This season, he bumped up to the 138-pound division.

In the finals, Noland faced an experienced opponent: Kyle Romano of Cambridge High School.

"The dude that I wrestled in the finals this year was the runner-up last year," Noland said. "My dad told me not to expect a pin, I might not pin him in the first period like always. Then we got on the mat, and I actually pinned him. I just got happy."

The two state champs on the Dalton wrestling team are instrumental in each other's successes.

"We've always pushed each other, too," Hunt said of Noland. "We're hard workers, and he's basically my training partner. We're both captains of the team, and we really try to set the team in check."

Part of that push is continuing to train during the offseason. While school and with athletic facilities are currently closed off during the outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), Noland is doing all he can to keep in shape.

Running, eating well and working out are all part of the plan to keep up the title hunt in his senior season.

"If some kids are taking off, It's time to get ahead of them," Noland said.

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