Athlete Spotlight: Shenandoah University wrestler Hunter Thompson

Shenandoah University wrestler Hunter Thompson

Shenandoah University 18-year-old freshman

Sport: Wrestling. Weight class: 165/174 pounds

Parents: Brian and Sheri Thompson

Hometown: Winchester (Handley High School). Major: Elementary education

What do you love about wrestling: It’s just fun to do, really. Also, there’s a strong community and a bond you can build with teammates. Once you get a season going, it’s almost impossible to stop that bond.

Most memorable moment in wrestling: Winning my first tournament my senior year (the Mike Duman Toys for Tots Invitational at Ocean Lakes High School). It was special just because of how well I performed. In the championship, I was down a takedown and I came back and put it on the guy with seven unanswered points. (Thompson beat Gloucester’s Joshua Seaton 7-2 at 160 pounds.)

Most embarrassing moment in wrestling: My freshman year, I lost a wrestle-off for a starting spot. I did eventually get the spot, but it was only because [the other wrestler] got injured.

Most difficult moment in wrestling: Wrestling through postseason my senior year, just because I had so many injuries all at once. I almost got to the second day at states (Thompson went 2-2 in the tournament). I had a thumb injury. At states, I either partially tore my hamstring or pulled it [in the first match]. I felt very accomplished [to win two matches].

Three people you can have dinner with, dead or alive: Andrew Jackson; he was one of the best duelists in American history and he was a president, so I think that’s really cool. Jordan Burroughs; he’s one of the top wrestlers in the world. If I met him, I would want to ask him how he [trains] every day. And JFK; he got us to the moon.

Biggest athletic influence: Definitely my dad. He was a college athlete too (for swimming at New Jersey’s Glassboro State College, which is now Rowan University) and in high school he was like [one of the best] in the nation. He always pushed me to be better every day, and I really love that about him.

Favorite teacher or professor: Warren Sardelis; she was my second-grade teacher at Quarles Elementary School. She was really patient with me. I was kind of a brat when I was younger, and I would throw fits sometimes. But she was always patient. I ended up having her husband as my high school coach (assistant Nick Sardelis). She was my favorite teacher to begin with, but I got to know her even better after that.

Favorite athlete: Ray Lewis

Favorite sports team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Favorite movie: “Animal House”

Favorite TV show: “The Office”

Favorite song: “What I Got” by Sublime

Favorite food: Tacos

Worst thing you’ve eaten: I still remember to this day having some spoiled milk. I just threw up on the spot. I was like 8, so I didn’t know about spoiled milk.

Plans after college: Definitely teach, and probably coach. I’ll start out in elementary and work my way up to high school. Whenever I have some fun with kids, it just gets me going. Especially in the wrestling room, like for youth club, because I coach at one [Red Lion Wrestling in Winchester]. Recently there was a day where I was kind of down, but as soon as I got in there I just got way happier.

Compiled by Robert Niedzwiecki

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