Roberts, much older & wiser, meets Hafizov again in Final X
Photo: Dalton Roberts (left) beat Ildar Hafizov at the 2023 U.S. Open...
Editor’s Note: Cody Hummer, a 119-pound junior and defending Missouri state champ from Savannah (Mo.) High School, has shared his feelings this season about wrestling on the high school level with WIN Editor Mike Finn, most recently on Jan. 12, 2011.
WIN: Let’s look at rivalries you’ve developed in your years of wrestling. How many rivalries do you feel that you currently have? Could you tell me the names of those wrestlers; how long you’ve known them?
CODY: A lot of rivals, in my past, are kids who have been training partners with me in the Kansas City region and around the state. I have a very hard time calling them rivals because they are my good friends. Also over time, we separate because of weight.
One such rival is Austin Roper. His dad is Wes Roper, the former head coach at the University of Missouri. I ran into Austin in the semis at state and he won in the last few seconds. Since then, Austin is above me in weight and we’ve become really good friends. We hope to wrestle together in college.
WIN: Are there any opponents you’ve struggled with that you are still trying to beat? If so, do those thoughts stay with you?
CODY: Most definitely, there are still those I still have on my “Hit List.” This is another valuable thing I learned from the Purlers. It’s a list of people who I would like to beat throughout my season. I have knocked off a lot of those on my list and am looking for ways to knock off the rest of them.
WIN: Regarding rivals, how many have become friends? If they do become friends, has it affected the way you wrestle them now?
CODY: When it’s all said and done, a lot of my opponents or rivals do end up becoming friends with me. I don’t prefer wrestling friends, but it’s basically the same with all of the practicing that we do together.
WIN: How many wrestlers do you face more than once in a season? For those you face many times, does it make it harder to face them multiple times? Of the better opponents, would you rather face them just once; perhaps at the state tournament.
CODY: One story that really sticks out in my mind about wrestling the same kid more than once happened when I was about nine years old. I was in a tournament and it was only me and another kid in the bracket, so it was a round robin. The first match I went out and got beat bad. I distinctly remember my coach and dad saying, “Come on Cody, you have to understand what you did wrong and be ready to go.” From that moment, the light bulb turned on and I beat the kid the next two matches. During the season, I will see several opponents multiple times. Wrestling them again has good things and also bad. The good thing is that I can easier understand the way that they wrestle. At the same time it works both ways though.
WIN: Do you follow what other wrestlers are doing at your weight, especially those you may not have heard of before this year?
CODY: I’m pretty good at keeping track and following some of the other wrestlers at my weight in the state and analyzing who beat who. This is a fun way to work on strategies.
WIN: During a tournament setting, do you ever find yourself scouting opponents? Please give me an example if you do?
CODY: The other night we were in a quad-style dual and I was scouting for other team members on my team. I noticed one of the toughest opponents that my friend had to wrestle had a really good left-sided single. I went to my buddy and told him to circle right and to isolate his left arm. By doing this, it took away his primary offense.
WIN: Considering you may be facing a better wrestler down the road, do you ever hold back on moves so that they may not be able to scout you?
CODY: I have learned to do this over the years and that is to not always work on your primary moves. As well as not to use all of your moves in your arsenal. I heard a great story from Coach (Gary) Mayabb. He said that he scouted a Russian wrestler for one of the American wrestlers for over a year. When it was time for the Russian and American to wrestle, the Russian used the complete opposite side that he had wrestled with for more than a year. I will never forget this.
WIN: The post-season starts in about two weeks. Where are you in terms of peaking for the post-season? Considering you are a defending state champ, do you feel any more pressure heading into this post-season.
CODY: I looked at last year’s season and noticed I did pretty well, so this year I take everything I did last year to help and add even more to help myself be prepared. I feel my shape is getting where it needs to be. I really don’t feel any more pressure. The only pressure I feel is for my little brother, Seth, who is a freshman, he is going through some learning pains. Altogether, we work through it and will be ready to go at the end.
WIN: Considering you also want to do something on a national level, do you ever find yourself looking past the high school post-season; perhaps looking forward to getting it done so that you can focus on the national competition? What are your thoughts about this?
CODY: The postseason is my favorite part of the year. This is when I am with all my buddies who are serious about the sport of wrestling. On the national level, I think it would be pretty cool if all of the different clubs or organizations would get together, not only to improve themselves, but Team USA. Maybe the rivalry is good between them, but a spot where everybody could train year round other than the Olympic Training Center. The OTC provides room for some of these, but there is a limited amount of space and money. And normally people only stay for a few weeks.