SPRINIGFIELD — As the traditional wrestling season approaches, Hunter Holton knows he has a chance to put the finishing touches on what has been a remarkable career as an Effingham County Rebel. His wrestling career is just one part of his testimony, however.
A transient to Effingham County, Holton comes from humble beginnings. He relied on the Treutlen House at New Ebenezer before his family planted roots in the area.
"My family was not doing so well," Holton said, "so I came to a group home. My ninth-grade year, I wasn't fond of school so I didn’t want to explore (anything)."
Holton spent his first year at Effingham County getting adjusted to his new surroundings. But he couldn't sit idle another year. The wrestling mat was calling his name.
Although the only wrestling practice he had was against his brother, he didn't let his inexperience deter him from trying out for the Rebels. It was then the upperclassmen noticed how quickly he grasped the moves. They were impressed by his skills.
Now the senior, who is 38-8 on the season, has blossomed into one of Effingham County's best weapons.
“It felt like I was already used to it,” Holton said. “I caught on quick. Some of the seniors my first year noticed I caught on quick.”
Holton said he's built close relationships with Corbitt Parrish and Tyler Kesler. He finds good company among the pair as it has good records to show as well.
Having Kesler as his practice partner has helped prepare him for what is arguably the toughest weight class in wrestling.
"It's pretty hard for 138 and 145," Holton said.
After going 1-2 last year in the state tournament, Holton is eager to improve in his last opportunity to don the Rebel singlet in the upcoming traditional state meet.
"I think I'll be nervous because it will be exciting," he said. “It would be (great) because of all the work we put in to be at the state level."