Heritage Academy’s boys wrestling team, led by coach David Hettinger, has quickly become a powerhouse in just its third year.
Heritage won the state title for the second year in a row, with 14 wrestlers on the podium, following the tournament at Grand Canyon State Academy.
As the school year comes to a close, Hettinger is reflecting on the season and already planning for the next.
Hettinger wrestled in high school and pushed for the creation of the wrestling team since the school opened in 2020.
“I wanted to give these young men an opportunity to have the same experience that I had,” he said.
The team’s philosophy is centered on the Greek word arete, referring to excellence or virtue of any kind.
“The Greeks believe in order to have a life of flourishing, you need to always be doing your best.”
This concept is ingrained in the team’s daily routine on and off the blue mats.
“At home, yes. At school, yes. On the mat, yes,” Hettinger said. “It doesn’t matter if they were to lose, as long as they were trying their best.”
While the coaching staff focuses on the fundamentals of wrestling, Hettinger also aims to prepare his athletes for the future, training them at a higher level in hopes they continue to wrestle in college.
The team practices outdoors year round – rain or shine, Monday through Friday – since wrestling is a class offered at Heritage Academy.
From mastering their mental approach to repping out pull-ups and push-ups, Hettinger said there is always something to work on.
When wrestling breaks the student-athletes down, teammates and coaches are there to pick them up.
“There is a real family atmosphere amongst those guys,” Hettinger said. “It’s a brotherhood, we need to look out for each other.”
To stay on the team, all wrestlers must keep their grades above a C-. With this emphasis on athletics and academics, the Heritage Academy wrestling team is setting a high standard for success, Hettinger believes.
“They’re all hard working and patient,” he said. “They’re an amazing group of people that I have the chance to coach.”
STATE WRESTLING MEDALIDSTS
Xander Mylek, freshman, 113 pounds
Reagan Fonner, freshman, 120 pounds
Gabriella Green (girls), sophomore, 235 pounds
Lee Kondravy, sophomore, 285 pounds
Christian Mylek, junior, 165 pounds
Christian Fonner, senior, 120 pounds
Dane Adams, junior, 190 pounds
Henry Folsom, sophomore, 150 pounds
Kenneth Richmond III, sophomore, 132 pounds
Aiden Behnke, freshman, 175 pounds
Logan Bates, freshman, 120 pounds
Elijah Scott, junior, 138 pounds
Kaden Dodson, sophomore, 157 pounds
Elliot Cahall, sophomore, 215 pounds
Check out a gallery from the tournament from Jeff Hazlet of Hazsports: