HUDSON — Fivay’s Collin Hahn is no stranger to success in the postseason.
The problem is that success wasn’t his: it was his brother Mike’s. This season he wants to change that.
“I work hard every day and give it all that I have to get (to state),” Hahn said. “It’s a mental thing. You have to prepare your mind, and once you do that, you can go as far as you want to go.”
Hahn watched his older brother set milestone after milestone for a budding Falcons program, becoming the team’s first and only state qualifier and state placer in 2010.
The experience helped motivate Hahn, and although he struggled through inconsistency in his junior year with a 34-9 record, he qualified for the state championships in Lakeland for the first time.
Along with his brother, who went on to become the state runnerup at 220 pounds, and six other Falcons, Hahn made the trip to the Lakeland Center, a trek he hopes to make again this season starting with Saturday’s Class A, District 8 tournament at Anclote.
“The one thing Collin wouldn’t do last year is stick to our game plan,” coach Andy Medders said. “We prepare for every match and every opponent, and sometimes he liked to revert back to his bad habits. This season, he’s been attacking people far more than I’ve ever seen.”
Nicco Lightfoot, one of the eight Falcon state qualifiers in 2012, is Hahn’s drill partner. Weighing almost the same, either could compete at 170 pounds, but Hahn volunteered to bump up to 182 early in the season. The work the two do during practice has been crucial to their development.
“Neither gives the other guy a second off during practice,” Medders said. “Along with a newfound maturity and confidence, Collin’s biggest asset has been working with Nicco on a daily basis and vice versa.”
Although he won only one match at state in February in the 160-pound weight class, the experience is what Hahn hopes will help this time around. He has been a different wrestler as a senior, dominating competition with a 39-4 record heading into the postseason.
One of his losses was to Gulf’s Jared Kruse, avenged in an 18-1 technical fall to win the Sunshine Athletic Conference title last weekend. The convincing victory helped vault Fivay to its second straight SAC championship by a narrow margin, winning by only two points over River Ridge.
“It’s all about mental preparation,” Medders said. “He has all the tools in his bag, but sometimes he underestimates his opponent. You can never take anyone for granted.”
Many consider the Fivay heavyweight to be a favorite to reach the state finals with only The Villages’ Taylor Jackson, a two-time state champion, as a major roadblock.
“He is very aggressive and likes to shoot a lot,” Hahn said. “The most important thing will be to defend and reshoot every time.”
Jackson toppled Hahn in the Springstead Invitational this season. Given the opportunity, Hahn is looking forward to another shot at the most decorated wrestler in Class A on the biggest stage of all with a chance to do something his older brother never did — win a state title.
Class 3A-6 at Brandon
When: 11 a.m. Saturday
Teams: Bloomingdale, Brandon, Durant, East Bay, Newsome, Plant, Plant City, Riverview, Tampa Bay Tech, Wiregrass Ranch
Class 2A-7 at Springstead
When: 9 a.m. Saturday
Teams: Central, Citrus, Hernando, Land O’Lakes, Lecanto, Nature Coast, Springstead
Class 2A-8 at Sunlake
When: 4:30 p.m. Thursday
Teams: Dunedin, Mitchell, River Ridge, Sunlake, Tarpon Springs, Zephyrhills
Class A-8 at Anclote
When: 10:30 a.m. Saturday
Teams: Anclote, Crystal River, Dunnellon, North Marion, Fivay, Hudson, Pasco, Trinity Catholic, Weeki Wachee
Class A-9 at Robinson
When: 10 a.m. Saturday
Teams: Berkeley Prep, Carrollwood Day, Middleton, Robinson, Spoto, Tampa Bay Christian, Tampa Prep, Wesley Chapel
Class A-10 at Indian Rocks Christian
When: 11 a.m. Saturday
Teams: Admiral Farragut, Clearwater Central Catholic, Gulf, Indian Rocks Christian, Lakewood, Northside Christian, Ridgewood, Shorecrest