Darrell Vasquez is the only four-time state wrestling champion in California history, so he knows a little something about repitition.
“I said, ‘This is exactly like last year,’” Hammond said. “I had a close semifinal match. I was the same color (Hammond wore a green anklet). I was wearing the same sweatshirt. Same guy I’m facing. I’m not superstitious, but it really was very similar.”
It’s no surprise that Hammond is a repeat winner as The Californian’s Wrestler of the Year.
“What he’s accomplished in his high school career is amazing,” said Bakersfield coach Andy Varner. “Three-time state place-winner, undefeated junior and senior year. It’s something pretty special. He’s the best kid in his weight class in the entire country, and that’s pretty special, too.”
Hammond will take that status to Cal State Bakersfield next year, where he said he hopes to be just the third four-time national champion in NCAA history.
Before you snicker, realize that lofty goals are nothing new for Hammond. He was eight when he started the sport and was immediately struck by the power and precision of the top high school wrestlers.