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From Back-Up to Breakthrough: How Hudson Hackbarth Earned His Spot and a Full-Ride Scholarship

Persistence, determination, tenacity, grit, resolve, perseverance…maybe even stubborn.  Those would be just a few of the words that come to mind when speaking of Edmond North’s Hudson Hackbarth and his high school wrestling career.  

Laboring behind a star-studded line-up for three years, Hackbarth finally broke through with a stellar senior season that ended with a 3rd place State Tournament finish.  To make the story even better, his clutch senior year performance earned him a full-ride scholarship to continue his education and wrestling career at Maryville University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Hudson Hackbarth, Edmond North, 132lbs 3rd place 2024 OSSAA State Championships

Edmond North’s phenomenal senior class of 2024 started setting records their freshman year, capping off their amazing high school careers with one last incredible record breaking performance in claiming the Class 6A state championship.  Hunter Hollingsworth, Layton Schneider, Talon McCollom, Ricky Thomas, Oscar Williams, Jude Randall, Christian Belford and Brayden Belford – everyone knows their names as they garnered numerous state titles, state medals and Fargo All-American honors starting with the 2021 State Tournament.     

Well, add Hudson Hackbarth to that list.  Hackbarth didn’t have the accolades coming into his final season of his fellow seniors, but he took advantage of his one and only season as a starter to shine on the top public school in the nation.

The personable Hackbarth shared his story recently and it’s a good one!  Whether it be on the mat, in the classroom, or any facet of life, his determination, work ethic and “don’t quit” attitude should be shared with everyone as an example and inspiration to all that are struggling to succeed.  

Encouraged by Brayden and Christian’s dad Carl Belford, Hudson started wrestling in 5th grade.  Hudson immediately enjoyed the physical aspects of wrestling.   Wrestling under Hardell Moore and Carl Belford at the Oklahoma Wrestling Academy, he didn’t wrestle many tournaments his first year and the following year found success in the novice tournaments, including winning a Novice State title.  That success didn’t carry over to the open tournaments, as Hudson stated he was “destroyed” in open tournament action.

Wrestling for the Edmond North Junior High team, Hackbarth’s journey as a fill-in starter started early as he was part of some power-packed teams led by Larry Tettleton.  Coach Tettleton was a huge supporter of Hudson, always reminding him that if he continued to work hard that he would get his chance one day.  Hudson took that to heart and was part of his driving force through the years.

During his freshman year, while his fellow classmates were making their mark on the HS varsity team (setting state records with nine freshman state qualifiers and six state placers), Hackbarth stayed on the JH team and proved his talent by placing 3rd at the Edmond Tournament and 4th at the Junior High All-State Tournament.

Hudson with JH coach Larry Tettleton

Limited varsity action continued in first three years in high school as he could not earn a starting spot with the likes of Hunter Hollingsworth, Christian Belford and Brayden Belford, keeping him from earning a permanent varsity position.  The constant losses in the practice room started to take its toll on Hackbarth.  He stated that he lost his confidence and often thought about quitting.

Following a disappointing loss his sophomore year, those thoughts of quitting almost became reality as he sat down in a heart-to-heart talk with his parents.  His parents listened but were firm in that he needed to stick with it and keep working hard.  Hudson listened to his parents and got back to work.   

Through the rest of that year and his junior year, Hackbarth battled to get better.  While he was still taking a beating in the practice room, Edmond North gives their non-varsity wrestlers plenty of chances to wrestle in tournaments and duals.  Hackbarth took full advantage of these opportunities, never backing down from anyone and wrestling wherever he was needed.  One week it was pulling weight, the next week it was going up a weight, doing whatever was needed to help the team.  Despite not wrestling at a set weight, Hackbarth still posted an impressive 49-13 record entering his senior season.  

Hackbarth proved his mental and physical toughness, when he suffered a serious elbow injury during the summer before his junior season.  The injury lingered into November and finally surgery was the only alternative.  Told he would be out 6-12 weeks, Hudson not only returned to the mat in a matter of days, he went 7-0 with all bonus point wins, including five falls to win the Putnam City Tournament just NINE DAYS after the surgery.

Two things happened that proved critical in his success in his final season with the Huskies.  One, was summer wrestling with Team Oklahoma.  In past summers, Hackbarth usually concentrated on lifting weights and did very little wrestling.  Last summer, Hackbarth was thrilled when he got a call to be part of the Oklahoma Team at the National Freestyle Duals.  The call was a big boost to his confidence and gave him the opportunity to wrestle with the very best all summer long.

Two, was a strong work ethic that hit a whole new level his senior year.  Often working out three times a day, Hackbarth was driven to make the most of his last opportunity.  Coach Andy Schneider stated, “We always saw Hudson’s potential, but now he had grown up, developed a stronger work ethic, was more coachable and willing to take advantage of every opportunity to get better.”  Hackbarth cited the work ethic to get better was greatly influence by words of encouragement from his dad and from Coach Schneider’s influence of keeping him accountable to do the extra work.  

Hudson and Edmond North Head Coach Andy Schneider

Now entering his final season, Hackbarth finally earned a coveted starting spot in the Huskies line-up.  After three years of being a back-up or fill-in starter, Hudson Hackbarth had one year to make all of the “blood, sweat, and tears” pay off.  And that he did!

Wrestling at 132 lbs., he caught the eye of some with a runner-up finish at the Geary Tournament, which included wins over 3X Texas state placer, Ezequiel Valadez (Arlington-Martin) and Broken Arrow 2X state placer, Evan Rodriguez.

Hackbarth followed that with by winning a title at the Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference (COAC) Tournament with a 3-2 win over teammate Brayden Belford in the finals.  Hackbarth then won the Yukon Jay Hancock Memorial Tournament with a finals win over 2X Texas state placer, Jair Jackson-Bey (Allen, TX).  Jackson-Bey had advanced to the finals with a win over Cascia Hall’s 2X state champion, Miles Velasquez.  

The Huskies rolled to the Dual State title with record-breaking performances in wins over Deer Creek, Stillwater and Bixby.  Hackbarth won all three of his matches, including a 5-0 win over Stillwater’s Julio Aguirre (2023 KS state champion and 2024 OK state runner-up at 126) and a 2-1 win over double Fargo All-American Isaiah Jones from Bixby.  

Hudson with a win by fall against Broken Arrow

Hackbarth picked up his third tournament title of the season, winning the Class 6A West Regional title, which included two falls and a 14-3 major decision win in the finals over Moore’s Topher Garrett.  

Hackbarth, making his first trip to the State Tournament, faced a field loaded with State Tournament experience.  He wasn’t fazed by the lack of experience as he opened the tournament with a 5-3 win over Union’s 3X state qualifier and 2022 state placer, Dariuz Black.  Hackbarth was denied a spot in the finals, when Bixby’s Isaiah Jones won the rematch, taking a 5-3 semifinal win.  

Facing elimination, Hackbarth ended his high school career with two clutch wins.  In the consolation semifinals, He earned a first period fall over 4X state qualifier, Jaxson Humphries from Owasso.  In the consolation finals, Hackbarth once again picked up a win over Broken Arrow’s 2X state placer Evan Rodriguez to earn a 3rd place State Tournament finish and end the season with a 33-7 record and finish with an 82-20 career record.    

Hackbarth’s 3rd place finish was part of Edmond North’s state record 260 points scored at the State Tournament, as the Huskies had all 14 wrestlers place in the top three, including crowing eight champions.

Hudson with brother Sawyer at OSSAA State Championships

When asked who had the biggest impact on his wrestling career, Hackbarth was quick to note the unwavering support from his parents, Justin and Sarah Hackbarth.  He also noted the positive impact of all of his coaches, starting with youth coaches Hardell Moore and Carl Belford, junior high head coach Larry Tettleton and high school head coach Andy Schneider.  

Another very important part of his journey that Hackbarth mentioned several times was going through the highs and lows of wrestling with his teammates.  Hackbarth said it was an honor to be part of team that earned the title as best public school in the nation.  He said they all grew up together, bonding as “brothers,” with the bond going beyond just the wrestling room walls.  

While Hackbarth is like most wrestlers and cited pulling weight as his least favorite part of the sport, he followed that with a remark that only a wrestler could make. Hackbarth recalled one of his favorite memories as being when he was asked to make a very low weigh and even though he was hesitant at first, the whole team worked together, cutting weight and then going out and winning the tournament.  

And just when you thought the feel good story was ending, there was one more chapter to make it even better.  Following the State Tournament, Hackbarth was invited to compete in the Missouri Border Brawl, which is a foundation that supports veterans and active military with amputations and PTSD.  Hackbarth won by 15-0 tech fall over Missouri 2X state placer and 2024 state runner-up Dillan Chisam.  

Why was that win so important?  Maryville University head coach Charles Sherertz was at the Border Brawl to see Hackbarth in action.  Coach Sherertz was familiar with the success of Edmond North and had been watching Hackbarth, noting his high finish at Geary and at the State Tournament.  

Watching Hackbarth “dismantle a Missouri state finalist” convinced Coach Sherertz that he wanted Hackbarth to be part of the Saints wrestling program.  A week later Coach Sherertz called to offer Hackbarth a scholarship. And it was not a token, books only scholarship, but a pay for everything, FULL-RIDE SCHOLARSHIP!  

Hudson and family at the Edmond North College Signing Ceremony

Following a family trip to Maryville, Hackbarth liked what he saw and committed to wrestle for Maryville.  Coach Sheretz stated “There’s no doubt in my mind that because of his perseverance in a top tier HS program, Hudson will be a franchise wrestler at Maryville and help elevate our program to new heights.”  

From sub, to starter, to state placer, to college scholarship.  What a journey it has been for Hudson Hackbarth!

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