In case opposing wrestlers are wondering, there's a good reason why Eastwood
senior 160-pounder Seth Hoffman has extraordinary strength in his hands and forearms.
For the past decade Hoffman has helped his father, Mark, bail hay and straw out of the family's 87-acre farm in Perrysburg. The family distributes the hay and straw to area homes and farms.
"We bail 30,000 bails of hay and straw from around May 20 through September," Mark Hoffman said.
Seth Hoffman, 18, has been working for his father "since he was 7 or 8," according to Mark. Hoffman's older brother, Adam, a 2006 Eastwood graduate who won more than 100 matches for the Eagles, bailed hay as well. All those years of hard work at home paid off for both wrestlers.
"It makes you a lot tougher," said Seth, who is 41-2 this season and ranked eighth in his weight class in the Brakeman Report. "I can tell I'm different than a lot of those other kids. We're out there on the mat and they're bellyaching about doing certain things and I'm like, 'suck it up.'
"Grabbing the bails all the time has made my grip a lot better. My dad needed help bailing, so we helped. It was a learning experience the first couple years. I was the main supervisor when I was 14. I knew what I was doing and the helpers didn't, so I had to direct them when my dad was back in the field and my brother wasn't there."
Eastwood coach Joe Wyant said Hoffman's family background and work ethic have molded him into the consummate competitor. Hoffman also works hard in the classroom. He has a 4.08 GPA and scored a 31 on his ACT exam.
"He's very strong - he works out all the time - and he's very smart," Wyant said. "He has a desire, and the kid just doesn't quit. He won't quit on you. He'll go and go and give you everything he's got. He's our captain and a team leader. Everybody follows him. I've been bumping him up to 171 (pounds), and he's beaten quite a few guys who are ranked in the Brakeman."
Hoffman, a three-time Division II district qualifier who has a 164-36 career record, is 10-1 at 171 this season. His two losses are to Division I opponents.
Hoffman's junior season ended in disappointment when he tore his ACL during his first match at the district tournament and had to default. Hoffman underwent surgery a week after the injury, and he said his knee is now fine.
"I'd like nothing more than to go to state and place," he said. "I should have been there two years ago at 145, but I was sick and didn't wrestle at the (Suburban Lakes League) tournament. Then I lost to a kid I had beaten bad earlier that year. He beat me at districts and he went to state."
Hoffman has been a spectator at the last six or seven state tournaments. As a seventh-grader, he saw Eastwood's Ben Llanas capture a state title. He later watched Eagles teammate Eric Cubberly win two state titles.
Duplicating Llanas' and Cubberly's accomplishments is what drives Hoffman, who looks to defend his 160-pound title at this weekend's SLL tournament.
"If I don't make it to state," he said, "I don't think my season will be a success at all. I would be extremely disappointed if I don't make it. If I don't, it will be because of my own doing. I've been down there to watch, and I just want to be down on that floor wrestling."
Hoffman, who plans to become a pharmacist, has already earned enough credits to graduate from high school. Last semester, he took a psychology class at BGSU, and this semester he is taking a sociology course.
There is only one thing left for the 5-11 Hoffman, a first-team All-SLL guard and middle linebacker last fall, to accomplish at Eastwood.
"I think I can place better than eighth at the state tournament," Hoffman said, referring to his ranking in the Brakeman. "I can't explain how much I want to be on the podium down there."
Eastwood wrestler Seth Hoffman (top) says he will be disappointed unless he qualifies and places at the state tournament. (Press photo by Lee Welch/www.familyphotogroup.com)