Cody Hummer: Helping brother learn decreases pressure of defending state title

Updated: February 10, 2011

Editor’s Note: During this past season, Cody Hummer, a junior from Savannah (Mo.) High School, has shared his thoughts with WIN editor Mike Finn about competing this season. The 119-pound defending state champion in Missouri’s Class 2 recently spoke about heading into the postseason.

WIN: Your postseason in Missouri begins Feb. 11-12 with the District tournament, followed one week later by the state tournament. Are you nervous at all with the start of this time of year and why?

CODY: No, this part of the year is very enjoyable for me to be able to watch myself and my brother (Seth) as we see how all of the hard work and extra practices starts paying off. It reminds of a quote from Henry Ford: “Nothing is particularly hard when you divide it into smaller pieces.” That is the way I have looked at this season.

Cody Hummer will look to have his arm raised a second time at this year’s Missouri state tournament.

WIN: What was the highlight for you of the regular season and why?

CODY: My highlight of the year was my abilities to help my younger brother (Seth is a freshman on the Savannah High School team). It was interesting to watch him adapt to the high school environment since we are so different. Along with that was how my advice affected how he trained, competed and in his school work. My highlight isn’t quite over; though it will be fulfilled when I see him at the top of the stand in a couple of weeks.

WIN: Did you do anything this year that helped with your confidence heading into the postseason?

CODY: I love going to watch college wrestling duals. Getting to see the intensity and the togetherness of the team puts fuel on my flame. This past weekend I was fortunate enough to watch Nebraska wrestle Missouri and every match there was a fight for the points. Those are the ones I like to watch. In the end, Nebraska got the upper hand and beat Mizzou by one point. When I go to these it reminds me of why I put in all the extra time in.

WIN: Do you feel like you have a target on your back as you attempt to repeat? How different is this feeling compared to last year?

CODY: I think all wrestlers who experience success feel as if they have a bull’s-eye on them. It really depends on your perspective. Here’s how I like to think of it: Success is not a destination. It is a journey. Meaning, although there a tough times on your path, you have to keep moving forward in the right direction. The situation has changed greatly this year with my little brother in the room. He is a practice partner and we both need to improve, not just me. Seth and I have been on the right path the last few months, and are ready to peak at the right time.

WIN: How are you avoiding over-confidence, considering you have not lost to anyone that you will wrestle in the post season and you are considered the “man to beat” at 119 this year?

CODY: My father helps me stay humble by reminding me to focus on the task at hand and all the little things I need to work on. He uses his philosophy of when he was a pilot in the United State Air National Guard. He told me a good pilot/wrestler is compelled to always evaluate what has happened, so he can apply what he has learned to accomplish his goals.

WIN: You have mentioned that you want to wrestle in college. Does that thought come up at all as you enter this postseason? Do you feel that you “have” to win in order to capture the attention of a college coach?

CODY: The thought is always on my mind and how I can apply myself to help achieve my goals of doing so. Winning is a big part of your track to college and I understand that is a crucial part of making it.

WIN: Last year, your high school team finished 25th while you won the state championship. How difficult is it to prepare for the state tournament when few other wrestlers on your high school team will even qualify? Do you feel lonely as each round progresses and you may be the only one left from your school?

CODY: I understand the position that I am in. It’s all about the time that you put in and hopefully some of my teammates can understand. There are different paths that you can take in high school — going for a state championship or the three-sport athlete who has fun — but there will always be exceptions. I won’t feel lonely, because I can basically tell who will make it and who won’t; therefore it’s not so bad on me.

WIN: I’m sure you have friends on the team that don’t do as well. Do you find ways to help them even more?

CODY: I love helping my teammates and I believe this is a great indicator to be a coach someday.

WIN: Your younger brother is facing his first postseason. Do you give him any different advice than what you’ve said to him during the regular season when you also competed in tournaments.

CODY: It’s the same procedure every time, not much difference. We have competed together in many tournaments all around, so we know the basic game plan. At the same time though there will be slight adjustments for different opponents.

WIN: Missouri has four classifications. Do you find yourself checking out the other 119 pounders in the state? Do you believe there is any difference in wrestling for a smaller school compared to a large school? Do you wish they’d have a separate tournament after the state tournament to decide the best guys at a weight, no matter the classification?

CODY: I always like to check out other 119 pounders, as well as all other weights. Many have became friends over time. With the onset of the Purler Academies and other year-around programs, you do not have to be in a larger school to be great. (It really helps though.) But if you compete year around and train hard through academies you can catch up with some of the larger-school programs. I do wish they would have a separate tournament for all classes, as well as a dual-style tournament in Missouri, because we don’t have either. Normally, you will run into other Missouri boys at national folkstyle, freestyle and Greco tournaments.