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LHS News

The school news site of Liberty High School

LHS News

The school news site of Liberty High School

LHS News

Meeting the Mat

Senior D1 wrestler Hunter Taylor.
Story by River Cotton

   The sound of cheering from the fans after two points is given for a takedown. The feeling of victory after a second State Championship win. The smell of sweat after a hard fought match against a tough opponent in Millard, NE.

   Senior Hunter Taylor is a top number one returner in his weight class, back again this year to attempt his third State winning run. As his graduation is this year, Taylor is signed to Oregon State University to pursue his dream of wrestling as a division one athlete. 

   “He continues to be like a second coach or mentor, especially for a lot of the younger kids that are coming into the program, that are freshman and sophomores,” Wrestling coach Kellen Laws said. 

     Coaches and teammates agree Taylor brings a special energy to the team and influences the underclassmen to reach for their goals. He works at least an extra hour outside of practice to improve constantly.   

     “My favorite part about being on a team with Hunter is how he is fun to be around and makes the room a better place to be. He always has a very positive attitude,” sophomore teammate Sandy Breeden said.     

   According to NCSA, “One percent of high school wrestlers will go on to compete at the Division 1 level. These student-athletes aren’t just the best at their school; they are the top high school wrestlers in the country and oftentimes rank in the top 100 nationally.” 

   Taylor’s D1 status sets him apart from other current athletes. He has wrestled for fifteen years and started when he was around two years old. The inspiration to start came from his Dad and Grandfather. 

   “My grandpa was a coach. He encouraged me to do it and my dad wrestled in high school,” Taylor said. 

   Hunter will go on to compete for his third State Title. Weighing in at 120 lbs, he is the top wrestler in his division. He is the top ranked wrestler in Missouri in that weight class. 

   “I think his work ethic sets him apart but also whenever you have somebody that is trying to win their third State title, and fourth state medal it is not about him. He still wants to see some of those younger guys and he is willing to help them attain their goals that he wanted as a freshman or sophomore,” Laws said.

     From the years of 2020-2023, Taylor had fifteen wins, and just three losses. His career record as of Jan 31 is 147-10 and has gone 29-1 for this 23-24 season.

   “He keeps the team hyped and makes sure we are all doing what we are supposed to,” sophomore teammate Donovan Hodges said. 

Story by Brookelyn Jadwin

   Coach Laws recognizes that at the beginning of Hunter’s high school wrestling career, he struggled with perfecting his diet and cutting his weight properly, but has since improved and passed his techniques and tips down to the underclassmen.

   According to Fitness Quest, “Wrestling encourages a healthy mindset and teaches athletes the value of sportsmanship. The importance of wrestling’s supporting environment encourages respect for fellow athletes. Even after an unsuccessful match, wrestlers stay humble, confident and dedicated to self-improvement.” 

   Taylor gets most of his motivation from his parents, who he says sacrificed a lot for him at a young age. 

   The State championship this year will be held at Mizzou on Feb 23 and 24. It can also be viewed on MSHSAA.TV for $15 per session. For more information on LHS wrestling team, @LHSBlueJays, @LHSSportsMktg, @LJaysWrestling

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