My Life as a High School Wrestler … by Cody Hummer

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Updated: November 2, 2010

Editor’s Note: Cody Hummer is 16 years old and beginning his junior year at Savannah High School, a Class 2 school (enrollment 800) in the small community of Savannah, Mo., which is five miles north of St. Joseph in northwest Missouri. The oldest of four sons, born to Kevin and Angie Hummer, Cody wrestles for his high school — winning his first state championship at 103 pounds last winter — and competes on the national level with a club program in Kansas City, which is about 40 miles south of Savannah.

During the upcoming high school season, Cody will share details about his life as a high school wrestler in WIN Magazine and on-line. Beginning Monday, Nov. 22, follow Cody’s thoughts on WIN-magazine.com.

In this first installment, Cody spoke to WIN editor Mike Finn about elements of his life that may be similar to other high school wrestlers around the country.

WIN: Why do you wrestle?

CODY: I wrestle because it’s great for self-discipline. I couldn’t really catch a ball. I wasn’t that coordinated so I thought I’d try (wrestling out). My Dad had done it when he was in high school. Now that I’ve been doing it for a while, it’s a great group of people to be doing it with.

Making up the Hummer family of Savannah, Mo., include (clockwise from left): Michael, Kevin (father), Seth, Cody, Gabriel and Angie (mother.)

WIN: What is the No. 1 value you get out of wrestling?

CODY: I’d have to say, “will power.” Coming off a loss and being able to pick yourself up and keep going. You “self-discipline” yourself by watching your weight, practicing and working hard.

WIN: You basically wrestle all year round. This time of year is considered by most the beginning of the season. When does your new season begin?

CODY: I start September 1 and end August 1. We first train for Super 32 (Oct. 30-31 in Greensboro, N.C.) and that will roll into the actual high school season. Then we train for the KCI tournament (Dec. 17-18 in Kansas City), then the state tournament (in February in Columbia, Mo.), then the (NHSCA) High School Nationals in Virginia Beach and then the Junior Nationals (in Fargo, N.D., in July).

WIN: How long have you made this your yearly schedule?

CODY: Three years ago is when it became an all-year round thing. Once I really started getting into freestyle and Greco, it kept me wrestling in the summer time.

WIN: How to you compare wrestling in national tournaments to what you face in high school?

CODY: I really respect people who come from the small schools like me. During the high school season, I wrestle kids who don’t necessarily wrestle all year round. So when I get to the national level, things are much tighter and the skill levels are similar because they wrestle all year round too. My training has to be changed for the different competitions.

WIN: What is important about wrestling for your high school?

CODY: I like representing my school and community. I like getting out in Missouri and showing that there is a little school in northwest Missouri that has a good wrestler there.

WIN: What is a typical week like for you in the preseason?

CODY: We train year around during the off season with several great coaches around the K.C. area. Our club team is Team Central with coach Jason Keck. My Greco coach is coach Gary Mayabb and my freestyle coach is Randy Smith. Then during the off season we train at Purler Academy with Tony Purler. I am so blessed by having wonderful coaches to work out with.

WIN: Are you training for the high school season during the preseason?

CODY: I train for tournaments and steps, which are two-to-three-month periods. Since September 1, we’ve been training for the Super 32.

WIN: Current Ohio State freshman Logan Stieber was also from a very small community (Monroeville, just outside of Cleveland). One difference is that he had three high school teammates that also trained with him 45 minutes from their hometown. Do you have anyone like that you can travel and train with?

CODY: My brother, Seth, who is a freshman, goes with me and there is another teammate, Nate, who does. He’s probably been training with us for three years.

WIN: Now that you have already won a high school state championship, do you look at this season any different than any other season?

CODY: I really have a lot more confidence. Getting the first one out of the way has been a great confidence booster. I’m ready to defend it. At the same time, I’m ready to focus on my brother and my high school teammates … by analyzing our training, how we are getting ready for things and take them to the next level. I believe I can help them since I already accomplished a personal goal.

WIN: How do you balance what you learn from outside your high school room to what you learn inside the room?

CODY: I train by three things: great coaching, great wrestling partners and time on the mat. Once I get a good combination of those three, I’m usually where I need to be.

WIN: How do you keep focused on your high school team goals considering you also have high personal national goals?

CODY: I have to train with my brother a lot extra. I have to stay focused on the right technique and I have to strengthen and condition my body a lot more.

WIN: Obviously, your high school coach is aware of what you are doing away from the high school team. What does he ask of you?

CODY: He doesn’t ask much from me. This year might be a little bit different. He may ask for more leadership since it is my junior year.

WIN: Your are an honor roll student (he holds a 3.7 GPA). How much do you credit wrestling for helping you become an honor student?

CODY: A lot. I will have a bad math test, but like when I train real hard in wrestling, I’ll go in and speak with my teacher, learn more about it and then I’ll be ready to take the next test. It’s just like in wrestling when I lose a match, come back and train hard and step up for the next match.

WIN: It sounds like you don’t believe in excuses.

CODY: Not very much. Some times I’ll have those days when I’m beat down from practice but you always have to get through it. Academics come first.

WIN: As we speak, you are driving home from practice. How do you spend that time? Is it a down time when you relax?

CODY: On the way down, I usually work on homework. On the way back, I’ll relax. Sometimes, we’ll watch a movie. Sometimes I’ll take a nap.

WIN: Do you have enough down time in your life?

CODY: I have down time, but most of my down time is training, organization. I guess there could always be more down time. That all goes back to organization.

WIN: So why do you like to train so much?

CODY: I want to be an NCAA Division I champion. That’s my No. 1 goal. I like self challenges. I like setting goals and accomplishing them.

WIN: A lot of wrestlers tend to be introverted and don’t really express themselves verbally. Is that you or is it easier for you to express yourself about how you are feeling?

CODY: I’m a person who likes to communicate with people. My Dad got a hold of this personality chart for his (work) staff. Whenever he has to interview, he’ll see where they rate on the Neopolitan chart.

Our family lives by this personality chart, where there is a vanilla, strawberry and chocolate. Vanilla is the communicator. Chocolate is the very organized person and strawberry is to themselves and a free-spirited person. I’m more of a vanilla, who likes to talk to people about how I feel. I like to express my feelings and certain issues I’m thinking about.

WIN: What are your brothers on the personality chart?

CODY (laughing): Seth has a little bit of chocolate and a little bit of vanilla in him. Michael, who is pretty close to me, is vanilla-chocolate for sure. And my youngest brother, Gabriel, is a high strawberry. It’s his way or the highway.

WIN: Were you ever a strawberry?

CODY: No, I was not.

WIN: What recommendations would you make to parents, who want to provide the most opportunities for their kids and want them to reach their goals but don’t want to burn them out?

CODY: My parents are my biggest boosters and they help provide opportunities for me. They push me but they also give me the option. My Dad never says, ‘You have to go to practice.’ It’s always an option if I want to stay home and study for a test and do my homework.

WIN: I’m sure you have friends at school who do not wrestle. Is it hard to maintain relationships with friends who may not have the same personal goals as you?

CODY: Yes, it is very hard. When I’m really training seriously, I don’t have that much time to go hang out at friends’ houses. I’m eating very healthy, of course, and usually training during the week. During the weekends, I usually have a tournament or a camp.

WIN: What makes this worth it?

CODY: I would say the success. Coming from a small community, it’s a pretty cool thing.

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