MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If Mark Hall was in basketball instead of wrestling, he’d be as big as LeBron.
At least, when LeBron was coming out of high school.
“Tons and tons and tons of attention,” his coach, Dalen Wasmund, said with a chuckle.
And when the state wrestling tournament begins on Thursday, for the senior 170-pounder from Apple Valley, it’s a whole lot bigger than a chance at a state title.
It’s a shot at history.
“That’s what drives me every day,” Hall said. “That’s what kind of gets me out of bed in the morning.”
Hall isn’t just the number-one-ranked high school wrestler in the country — at his weight and overall.
He’s the best there’s been in some time.
His high school record (as of Friday afternoon) is a staggering 269-4. He’s won his last 162 in a row. He hasn’t lost since his freshman year.
A loss that still drives him.
“It’s been like three, four years ago now,” Hall said. “And I still think about it.”
He won his first high school state championship as a 7th grader. And has won it every year since — a state-record tying five titles in a row. He’s 35-0 in the state tournament with 20 pins.
And that’s just in Minnesota. This past summer, he won a Cadet World Championship.
But of all the things Hall has done, this would be number one: The chance to make history as the first wrestler in state history to win six state titles.
“When I get in that situation,” Hall said, “I just want to make sure I seize the moment and I really make sure I do everything I can to make it happen.”
So what is it that makes him so good?
“He’s got, you know, phenomenal strength,” Wasmund said. “And great balance.”
But more than any move, more than any hold, it’s not what he does with his body but with his mind.
“I just go out there with the mentality that I’m going to go win,” Hall said. “It starts in your mind, it starts on a personal level. You respect yourself enough to think you’re gonna win every single match.”
What he really wants is to be the absolute best, whether it’s at Penn State this fall, or the Olympics in the future.
Maybe even the greatest wrestler, ever? That’s not hyperbole with him.
“Those are kind of the things I think about before I go to bed,” Hall said with a smile. “I think it’d be pretty cool to be, you know, the best ever. To be the greatest wrestler America’s ever seen.”