By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
The start of Hunter Andel’s wrestling career is a distant memory.
For most anyway, but he remembers it quite well.
And not for the reasons you may think.
“I did not win a single match for two years,” said Andel, who started wrestling at the age of 5.
Year three was better, but only slightly.
“I won one or two matches.”
He stuck with it, though, and the persistence paid off.
Andel was committed to improving and Andel’s push for perfection and love for the sport has not slowed down since.
And there are many wins to count now.
The 165-pound senior is a two-time state-placer, with a trajectory that will not only put him back in Columbus this season, but with a real chance to become Garfield’s first-ever state champion.
Andel has been working tirelessly with drill partner, and best friend, Keegan Sell with the hope that they both can ascend to the podium’s top level in the coming weeks.
“We hope to share the history together; to be the first state champions in school history,” said Andel, who has signed a National Letter of Intent to continue his academic and wrestling careers at Kent State University. “We are nearing the final stretch. All of our hard work. We are very dialed in.”
Garfield head coach Dan Andel, Hunter’s father, used one word to describe his son’s pursuit: Relentless.
“I can see a new level of focus this season,” Dan Andel said. “As a coach, we always want to see growth, but oftentimes with advanced wrestling, that growth tapers. However, Hunter puts in a ton of work and it definitely shows.”
It has for awhile, actually.
Andel entered his freshman season at 126 pounds and about midway through the year, a victory over a highly ranked and respected opponent, opened his eyes on what he was capable of.
“That gave me even more motivation than I already had,” said Andel, who wrestled at 145 as a sophomore before moving up to 165 as a junior. “I knew I could compete with anyone.”
Andel can do it from anywhere on the mat, too.
The G-Men standout really does not have much of a weakness, regardless of position — and his mentality never changes.
“No matter what, I am always looking to score points,” Hunter Andel said. “The ultimate goal is to get the pin, and I will look for those opportunities, but until then I want to score as many points as possible.”
The philosophy and attention to detail within his own technique has worked.
Andel has 33 wins this season and 138 for his career — and counting.
“As a father, it has been a great privilege to coach Hunter,” Dan Andel said. “He is a phenomenal wrestler and there is a lot to be proud of. However, more importantly, he is a great kid off the mat and knows the Lord.”
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