“For their age group, these guys are the best in the country, and they’ll use this experience as a steppingstone or a springboard to opportunities at the next level — the NCAAs, the World Team and eventually the Olympics.”
Hawks, who placed fourth, third and second in three prep seasons at Holt High in Wentzville, suffered a knee injury while playing football as a senior and ended up sitting out his final high school wrestling campaign.
“By the time I was healthy and ready to wrestle, COVID hit, and everything was shut down,” Hawks said. He returned to action last season as a freshman at Mizzou and finished 5-3 with all three losses coming in one-point matches.
Competing in May at the UWW Junior National Championships in Covalville, Iowa, Hawks swept his best-of-three series for the championship, winning 6-5 in the first match and by fall in the second.
“It’s my first international experience, and I’m excited to be a part of all this,” Hawks said. “The training is intense, but it helps that we’re here at home in our wrestling room. I’m definitely looking forward to the challenge of seeing the different styles and competitors in Russia.”
Hawks added: “This should definitely help give me a great start heading into the college season, but right now, I’m just trying to stay as focused as I can on learning all I can from this experience.”