As WIN’s 2013-14 Preseason Individual Rankings were released yesterday, CMP alumni and Gardner-Webb sophomore Hunter Gamble was ranked 18th overall at 174 pounds.
Gamble is coming off a stellar season in which he captured a Southern Conference title as true freshman and knocked off the #9 seed in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Division I National Championships.
A feat which seems even more incredible considering that Hunter was competing against high school seniors less than a year prior to that.
I recently got the opportunity to sit down with Hunter and gather his thoughts on his success.
Q: What was like today to learn that you were ranked 18th in nation….as a true sophomore. I’m sure you’ve gotten a ton of love from your wrestling family.
“It was good to hear because I finally got some recognition for the sport that I love, but it was also a little bitter because 18 isn’t number 1. Ever since I devoted myself to the sport I’ve wanted to be an NCAA champion. But yeah, the love and support from my wrestling family is awesome!”
Q: Tell me about winning the SoCons and competing in the NCAAs less than a year after being a high school state champ. What was that experience like?
“SoCons was cool because it was a big stepping stone to the national level that I needed to overcome, but NCAAs was even better. Winning SoCons finally helped me to believe in myself and helped my confidence. I truly thought I had a shot at being an All-American if I wrestled the right way but I came up short and it has pushed me to go farther.”
Q: Tell me about that transition from high school to college….and why do you think you’ve handled that transition so well?
“The transition was pretty easy because I trained and lived the right way in high school. But I think I’ve handled it so well because all aspects of my life are handled well: my school work, my diet, my lifting, my conditioning, my relationships. I do it all the right way and it makes it easier to focus on getting better at wrestling, which is what I did, I got a lot better…
The only major difference was my lifting, I finally started lifting like I needed to when I got off to school.”
Q: One final question, what words do you have for those guys that are training back at the Compound (or really any where in Georgia) that want to experience the success that you’ve had?
“Good question, first I want to say thank you to The Compound for everything they have done for me. And to any kid out there who wants success in the sport or in anything, it’s not something quick. It took me 4 years of extreme commitment to finally taste success on the level I wanted. But the main thing I want to get across is that if you want success in anything you cannot slack off in anything you do. Everything you do, do it for a reason, don’t do it just because it’s what everyone else is doing, do it because it makes you a better person, that’s how you become successful in life and in the sport.”