Not done yet: Recent Dalton graduate named wrestler of the year before heading to Division I competition

Matt Hamilton/Daily Citizen-News

Recent Dalton High School graduate Tyler Hunt has been named theĀ 2018-19 Daily Citizen-News Wrestler of the Year.

Tyler Hunt finished his high school wrestling career with not one, not two, not three but four state championships.

After transferring to Dalton High School for his senior year, Hunt took home the Class 6A individual title in the 132-pound weight class in February, capping off an impressive career with an undefeated season.

However, he's got other things on his mind now.

"It really doesn't feel like it's over," he said of his recent graduation and farewell from high school competition. "Honestly you're always working. I've been at the school an immeasurable amount of times just trying to get better and to get ready for the next level. It never goes away."

Hunt's run as a four-time state champion landed him as one of the most known wrestlers among his peers. He took home three titles at Sonoraville High School in Gordon County before becoming a Catamount, and for his efforts has been named the 2018-19 Daily Citizen-News Wrestler of the Year.

Hunt's next step is to move to Newport, Rhode Island, to join the Naval Academy's Preparatory School. After being appointed to the Naval Academy in October, Hunt chose this option as a way for him to better prepare for wrestling in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association, a Division I conference in the NCAA.

While in Rhode Island, Hunt will be joined by about 15-20 other Navy wrestlers in his same situation and will practice as a team. He'll travel with the official team as a freshman, but will compete his first year in any tournaments as an unattached individual.

After one year, he'll join the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

"It basically serves as a redshirt year for me," Hunt said. "I'll be doing normal college stuff on top of wrestling and military things, but I'm really looking forward to it. I'm maybe a tad bit nervous, but I know when I get up there and get into a routine I'll be fine. I'm really excited to be wrestling at this Division I level and moving from the smaller lake to the bigger lake."

Coming such a long way from being a freshman, Hunt says he has learned a great deal. He finished his senior year with a 68-0 record and was named a National High School Coaches Association All-American. He won multiple tournaments including four times at the McCallie Invitational and this year at the Ringgold Invitational, Screaming Eagle Invitational, Burnt Mountain Classic and Murray Invitational.

"You can't just do one or two things and expect to have a good outcome," he said. "You have to make sure you cover all of your bases and do everything right. You have to be able to go from one thing to the next, like a chain."

While there might have been a target on his back, he said he didn't mind hearing his name because that meant more attention for wrestling. He said he definitely feels like it gets overshadowed at times by more popular sports such as baseball or football.

"It doesn't really bother me," Hunt said. "I like for people to know me and spread my family's name and my brother's name. It doesn't change who I am."

Hunt's brother, Cole, placed third at the state tournament in the 106-pound weight class as a freshman this year with the Catamounts, and he admits, along with his parents, it'll be one of the hardest things he'll leave behind in Dalton.

The distance between New England and Dalton is not something Hunt said he is looking forward to but is happy to be coming home for holidays.

"I'll for sure miss just hanging around with my family at our house," he said. "Usually if we aren't working on something we are just relaxing and having a cookout or something."

And as he gets ready to leave for the bigger world later this summer, Hunt said nothing will stop him from continuing to work.

"When I go up there, I know I'm going to take up all kinds of things," he said. "If I see something I like, I'll ask about it and maybe even incorporate it in how I wrestle. Everyone is different, so there really is no limit."

React to this story:


Recommended for you