ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — On Monday morning in the Meigs High School’s Larry R. Morrison Gymnasium, MHS senior Trae Hood signed his letter of intent to join the Campbell University wrestling team.
“To be able to continue wrestling is a dream come true,” Hood said. “I started wrestling my sophomore year and did not expect any of this to happen. Coach Willford told me when I started that I’d either love it or hate it. I loved it from the first day I came out.”
As a senior for the Marauders, Hood posted a 36-7 record and earned his second straight trip to the district tournament, in the 220-pound weight class. Hood was second at the Tri-Valley Conference meet as a senior, after winning the 195-pound weight class as a junior. As a senior, Trae was selected to the inaugural Ohio Valley Publishing wrestling team, at 220 pounds.
In his three years wrestling for the Marauders, Hood was mentored Cassady Willford, who has been the MHS head coach for three seasons.
“He won’t tell you, but he’s the reason I am what I am today in wrestling,” Hood said of Coach Willford. “He’s put in so much time and effort, that he didn’t have to, to make sure that I can go do great things after high school.”
Hood — who visited Campbell University’s campus a week before signing his letter of intent — will be joining the Fighting Camels team that competes in the NCAA Division I and is a member of the Southern Conference.
“The coaching staff that they have is unbelievable,” Hood said. “Their head coach (Cary Kolat) was an Olympian, he’s a great guy and he brought in a bunch of guys around him like that. Campbell being a Division I school, but still being as small as it is, it’s nice to have the perks of being at a big school, but in a small area. It kind of felt like a home place for me.”
Kolat has been the Fighting Camels’ head coach for three years. As a wrestler, Kolat was a two-time NCAA Division I champ and 2000 Olympic participant. 11 years on the US National team.
Campbell University is located in Buies Creek, North Carolina, just over a six-hour drive from Meigs High School. The Fighting Camels were 10-6 overall this past season, with a 6-1 conference record.
While at CU, Trae will be pursuing a bachelor’s degree in homeland security and plans on wrestling in the 184-pound weight class.
At Meigs, Hood has a grade-point-average of 3.1. In addition to three years of varsity wrestling, Hood has also been a four-year member of the football team, where he switched from the backfield to the line, as a senior. Trae also was a one-year member of each the track and field, baseball and basketball teams at MHS.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.