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WHO’S NEXT? USAW STAR OF THE FUTURE Hall makes big impact

Triple Crown winner put his immense talents on display in dominating field in Fargo

By Bryan Baumgartner Mark Hall was nearly flawless in his pursuit of a coveted USA

Wrestling Cadet Triple Crown this year. After winning a USA Wrestling Folkstyle Nationals title in April,

Hall gave up a combined two points at the ASICS/Vaughan Cadet Nationals Greco-Roman and men’s freestyle champi- onships in July in Fargo, N.D. Hall won titles in both styles at 160 pounds to secure the

Triple Crown. “To me, I tried to take it as just another tournament,” Hall said.

“It’s one of my favorite tournaments. I love going out there and was excited to win the Triple Crown there.” Dominance has been nothing new to Hall though. The 16- year-old sophomore has won three straight Minnesota state championships competing at wrestling powerhouse Apple Valley. Hall piled up a 46-3 record at the varsity level as a seventh

grader, went 46-0 as an eighth grader and 48-1 as a freshman while winning state titles each year. His goal: become the first wrestler in Minnesota history to win

six state championships. “It is going to take me working day in and day out, not taking

many breaks, to reach my goals,” Hall said. “I need to stay disci- plined, but keep being myself. It’s important to not let any other person change my dream.” Hall’s wrestling career began as a 4-year-old when he started

going with his older brother to practice. “I remember going to practice and messing around a lot, not

taking it very seriously,” said Hall. “I also remember losing a lot.” Early on in his career, Hall’s father began signing him up to

wrestle in older divisions which Hall believes accelerated his development. “He wanted me to see what it was like wrestling older, tougher

guys,” Hall said. “It forced me to get more physical and adjust faster.” Hall remembers simply getting tired of losing when he was

eight years old and started working even harder to improve. “I completely changed my mind set in training and in match-

es,” said Hall. “I was going to get good or die trying.” Before his seventh grade year, Hall and his family made the decision for him to move from their home in Kentucky and to enroll at Apple Valley High School in Minnesota. “They were a powerhouse and the year before I went they

had like 10 guys ranked in the top of the country,” Hall said of Apple Valley. “They always wrestle a tough schedule and every- one in the practice room wants to win and be the best.” As tough of a decision it was to move away, Hall describes it

as a necessary sacrifice for him to take his wrestling to the next level. “You’re always going to be making sacrifices in this sport, and

30 USA Wrestler

Mark Hall won Cadet Nationals titles in Greco-Roman and freestyle to complete the Triple Crown. John Sachs photo.

you’re always going to be away from home if you’re doing it right,” said Hall. “It was tough, but I would never take it back. I’ve had my best three years of wrestling and my career can only go forward there.” During the summer of his eighth grade year, Hall was invited

by fellow Apple Valley standout Destin McCauley to go with him to the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Hall trained with McCauley and other top prospects while working with coaches on USA Wrestling’s national staff. “I’ve had some of my toughest times in wrestling there, but

have gone back every summer since,” Hall said about training at the Olympic Training Center. “It’s been a blessing having wrestling masterminds Brandon Slay and Bill Zadick as coaches every day and getting to train with Olympians like Jared Frayer and Jordan Burroughs. After every go I have with Jordan, he is Continued on page 31

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