CEDAR RAPIDS — Will Hart is the epitome of practice makes perfect.
Actually, it’s more like perfect attendance for practice leads to a perfect record.
The Cedar Rapids Washington senior 145-pounder hasn’t missed a practice since entering the Warriors’ program. The result this season is a 10-0 record.
“My expectations are always high,” Hart said. “I’m really excited. I expected to do well off the bat this season, but I’ve actually had tougher competition and I’ve still done better, so that means I’ve improved a lot.”
Practice and hard work have led to Hart’s improvement. Hart, an avid skateboarder, has had some luck as well by avoiding serious injury and illness to keep the perfect attendance intact.
“When you know it’s not an option to miss a practice, you get this sense of dedication,” Hart said. “I just know it’s wrestling season, and I know this is my life right now.”
Attending practice is one thing; being productive is another. Hart has done an ”excellent job,” according to Warrior Coach Matt Hatcher, at developing trust in his coaches and becoming more coachable.
“His commitment to the sport is probably his best asset,” said Hatcher, noting the support and involvement by Hart’s father, Brad, and mother, Jade. “He doesn’t just not miss practice. You know he’s going to come to practice, (and) he works hard every time he’s there.”
Hart, off to his best start, got his fifth pin of the season Tuesday with a first-period fall against Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Tyler Hagedorn. Hart won West Delaware’s Hawk Invitational, but his biggest win came last weekend during the Five Seasons Duals when he edged Bettendorf’s Dominic Chase, 5-4.
Chase was a state runner-up last year for Clinton. After getting illegally slammed on his head and neck in the opening moments, Hart responded by getting the first takedown and becoming the aggressor most of the match.
“They asked if I wanted to keep wrestling and I was really mad at him so I said ‘yes’ and I beat him,” Hart said. “I pretty much took my rage out on him. It just got it going.”
Hart said his win over the fifth-ranked Chase reinforces his belief he can compete with anyone. Gone is a “life-or-death” approach to winning and losing, replaced by an attitude of confidence.
“Now I really think he believes he can beat just about anybody,” Hatcher said. “That’s going to help him out big time down the road.”
That approach will be necessary to reach his goal of reaching the state meet. Hart said he let nerves get in the way of achieving that goal the last three seasons.
“This year I know that won’t happen,” Hart said. “This year I’ve been able to get the right mindset and focus and know that I’m going to win.”