It’s about Schmoekel’s ‘journey’

J. Patrick Eaken

Northwood senior 170-pound wrestler Hunter Schmoekel (21-9) did not place at state, but it was all about his journey getting there. His next journey — he will report to the U.S. Army this summer.

Schmoekel, who won a combined Toledo City League and Toledo Area Athletic Conference championship, placed fourth at the D-III district tournament, providing the opportunity for him to participate in the state meet at Marion Harding High School.

“He had a good district tournament and good year this year,” Northwood coach Nick Encheff said. “We felt going into the district tournament that we had a pretty good draw. My assistant coach, Steve Simok, really prepared him well for his first match. We wanted to make sure he did well in that first match and then he did the rest.”

At state, Schmoekel went two and out, but it was his growth from last year to this year which caught his coach’s eye. His older brother, Mason Schmoekel, wrestles for Ohio Northern University, which gave Hunter the home environment to become a state qualifying wrestler.

“I am sure they went after it a few times in the basement,” Encheff said. “Actually, Hunter did a nice job between last year and this year. Last year he had a winning record and went to districts, but he went two and out at districts last year. 

“What we really worked on with him is staying in good position. He came to us from Start and had a real good knowledge of wrestling and is a real nice athlete, but he always wanted to do the flashy move, and it took a while for us to get it to his head that you want to stay in good position and that will create openings for you and prevent you from doing bad things. 

“Actually, it worked well in districts this year. We ran into a couple wrestlers who were really kind of funky and rolled around a lot and Hunter was able to stay in good position and he was able to beat both of them.

“I think the big thing was for him, coming from Start, it took us a while to learn how to coach him and for him to react on how we coach him. I think over the year from his junior to senior year, I think that the little changes on how he went about his positioning really helped him this year.”



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