PREP WRESTLING: Hallaway reflects on career

ROLLA, N.D. -- Willson Hallaway ended his high school wrestling career with 165 wins. For all those victories, however, the three matches he remembers most are losses.

ROLLA, N.D. -- Willson Hallaway ended his high school wrestling career with 165 wins. For all those victories, however, the three matches he remembers most are losses.

In the matches the senior regarded as the biggest in his career, Hallaway was 0-for-3 in state championship matches.

"They were everything I dreamed for, getting to the state championship," Hallaway said. "And I lost all three of them.

"After I lost the first one, I thought, well, I have two more years to do it. As a junior, I'm thinking I have one more year to do it. Then, as a senior, you lose (in the state final) and there are no more years. That was the most disappointing. After a while, the hurt fades off and you don't think about it anymore."

Hallaway talks of disappointments. But the overall body of work was outstanding.


The senior graduates this spring ranked fourth in career wins in the Rolla-Rock Lake-St. John wrestling program. His 72 percent career winning percentage speaks highly of his success.

Rolla-Rock Lake-St. John coach Davey Zinke understands Hallaway's frustration. He's not surprised by it. But, Zinke said, the senior shouldn't diminish the accomplishments of his career.

"I can feel Willson's pain," Zinke said. "He had a great career. But second sucks if your goal is to win state. And the best thing for any kid is to be a state champion as a senior.

"A lot of kids don't achieve that. But he has done a lot of big things in his wrestling career. Right now, Willson is disappointed. But, in time, he'll be able to look back and say, 'Wow.' What he's done has been a huge achievement."

Hallaway's biggest misfortune may have been in the weights in which he's competed.

n As a sophomore, he dropped a 16-3 major decision to Michael Nord of Lisbon in the 135-pound state final. Nord claimed his fourth state title this winter.

n As a junior, Hallaway lost 8-2 in the 140 championship to Napoleon's Jared Reis, who repeated as state champion this season.

n This season, Hallaway gave up a takedown and 2-point nearfall in the first period and never recovered, losing 4-2 to Carrington's Kyle Bahm in the 160 state championship. It was the second straight state championship for Bahm, who lost only three matches in those two seasons.


Losing three straight state championship matches "has to be tough," Zinke said. "Willson has wrestled some really good kids in the finals. Willson is a very good wrestler. He can ride, he can escape, he's good on his feet. You don't win 165 matches if you're not a way above-average kid. He just kept running into kids a little bit better."

Zinke said Hallaway's success this season was even more impressive considering he tore a muscle in his groin in late December, which sidelined him until late in the season. "To have that injury and come back like he did is pretty awesome," Zinke said. "To come back, work as hard as he did and do that well, it shows how competitive he is."

And all the wins show how successful Hallaway was.

"It was pretty successful," Hallaway said of his wrestling career. "I wish I could have won at least one of those championship matches. But it is an honor to get second at state, for sure. Not many kids do that well. I think I did pretty well for myself."

DeVillers reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1128; (800) 477-6572, ext. 128; or send e-mail to .

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