Recent performances by Fort Mill wrestler Jake Hart at some of the top tournaments in the country has caught the eyes of Division I college coaches.
Hart, who has just one loss this season, is being recruited by several Division I schools, including NC State, Virginia Tech, Appalachian State, Maryland and George Mason. Hart recently finished third at the Beast of the East tournament in Delaware losing only to David Carr, the No. 1 ranked 152-pound wrestler in the country.
Hart was the fifth seed entering the tournament, but performed at a higher level. He lost in the semifinals to Carr, but came back to win in the consolation finals 9-3 to capture place third.
“I didn’t know I was going to do that well,” he said.
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Since then, Hart has been contacted by Virginia Tech and most recently officials from NC State talked with him. Hart said he is enjoying his senior year and is happy with his performance on the mat.
“Everything is clicking,” he said. “I am at a point where I feel I can compete with the best guys.”
One thing that is fueling Hart’s fire is his state championship loss last season. After getting to the state finals, he fell to River Bluff’s Ben Emery. Something he said shouldn’t have happened.
“There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about it,” he said. “It is always on my mind.”
Hart said that has helped drive him this season. Fort Mill head coach Chris Brock said something like that is good motivation.
“Last year he was tough and competitive, but a loss in the state finals tends to push you,” he said. “He has used it as motivation to step things up.”
Hart did get some revenge for that loss earlier this season after beating Emery in the finals of the Southern Slam 8-2.
“It was nice to get some payback,” he said.
Mac Banks: firstname.lastname@example.org, @MacBanksFM