Determination Spencerport wrestler Shawn Hibbs
is ready to be a champion.
10, 1999) -- It was the Sunday after last year's Section V Class A Tournament last year and Spencerport wrestler
Shawn Hibbs had just lost in the finals for the second straight weekend
to Greece Olympia's Joe Veltre.
Bill Jacoutot invited Hibbs to his house to review the tape of the Class
A tournament. They watched the final match about six times, then took
Jacoutot recalls saying, "I've been at this long enough to know a champion
when I see one, but you're just not getting after it like you should.
You're not loving the sport enough to be the top dog."
hit Hibbs harder than a pancake takedown.
next week at SuperSectionals he avenged those losses, handling Veltre
8-2, and then Hibbs became that top dog. He came from behind in all
but his first match and captured the state title by winning the final
9-7 in overtime. His clutch takedown with three seconds left in the
third period forced OT.
Section V's only returning state champion, Hibbs is in rare air. But
he already has found out life on top is tough.
senior lost 9-7 in the 103 finals to Watertown's Joe Jewett, an Empire
State Games gold medalist and state-place finisher, in last week's season-opening
Cicero-North Syracuse tournament.
know I've got to be ready," he says.
the hunted, of course, is nothing new if you're a wrestler at state
power Spencerport, the 11-time defending Section V Class A champion.
It's a role Hibbs doesn't take lightly.
look down everyday at my singlet and I'm like, 'I'm from Spencerport,
we have to uphold a tradition here,' " says Hibbs, a four-year varsity
performer with a 99-22 record. "I know myself I'm never going to give
up in a match. As long as I'm on the mat I can score points, and there's
always a chance to win."
says he's already noticed his new status as state champ has opponents
coming at him even harder.
don't hold anything back. They just throw headlocks out of nowhere.
Sometimes you get caught," he says.
went 26-10 as a freshman, 30-8 as a sophomore and 40-3 last year. He
also qualified for the Empire State Games last summer but skipped it
to wrestle in Junior Nationals in Fargo, N.D., where he went 2-2.
always been strong for his size, and he's got good balance," Jacoutot
says of the 5-foot-4 Hibbs, who is considering the University of Buffalo
and North Carolina.
is ranked fourth in the country at 103 among seniors by the Amateur
Wrestling News, one of only nine wrestlers from New York to earn
of Hibbs' strengths is thinking on his feet. He led Spencerport's loaded
lineup last year in takedowns.
more of an offensive wrestler, so I'm thinking of what I'm going to
do (my opponent) to take him down," says Hibbs, who played soccer as
study an opponent during tournaments, looking for weaknesses in case
their paths cross.
much you put yourself through a match before you go actually go through
it," he says.
rivalry with Veltre -- Hibbs won their first two dual-meet matchups
before last year's counties, Class As and SuperSectionals -- might be
a thing of the past. Hibbs thinks Veltre, also a senior, is moving up
to 112 pounds.
going to miss that," says Hibbs, who enjoys fishing and dancing at clubs.