Kacee Hutchinson said it best himself on March 2.
The Enka senior had just had his hand raised for the second consecutive year as the NCHSAA 3-A wrestling champion at 195 pounds. Hutchinson was standing off to the side of the mats inside Greensboro Coliseum, collecting his breath after a 15-6 win over Hunter Huss’ Jonathan Hannah.
“It feels good to go out and dominate,” said Hutchinson, who bleached his dark hair blonde for the state tournament.
“That’s what I train to do.”
Indeed, Hutchinson did plenty of dominating throughout a 58-0 season. He was named the Mountain Athletic Conference’s wrestler of the year and the NCHSAA 3-A tourney’s most outstanding wrestler.
And for the second time, Hutchinson is the Citizen-Times All-WNC wrestler of the year.
“This season was a dream come true. It feels so great to have accomplished all these goals,” Hutchinson said.
“I couldn’t have asked for my high school career to end any better. And now that it’s over, I have a lot of things that I want to accomplish at the next level.”
Hutchinson will graduate with 204 career victories, the second-most in WNC history. More than half those wins (110) came by pin. Last month, Hutchinson and good friend Andrew Franklin (who is a heavyweight) became the first two Enka wrestlers to win state championships in the same year.
“I really enjoyed coaching Kacee, and for more than just Kacee being a star,” Jets coach Mark Harris said. “He really loves the sport. He just has so much energy for wrestling, and that’s contagious. A lot of our younger guys have really adopted that. Kacee just radiates a lot of enthusiasm for the sport and hard work.”
Hutchinson spent part of his spring break at the NCAA tournament in Des Moines, Iowa.
As for his own college plans? Hutchinson has committed to Appalachian State, which is coached by the only four-time NCHSAA wrestling champion to ever come from Western North Carolina (Avery County alum JohnMark Bentley).
“I know I’m going to go in there and take some lumps,” Hutchinson said. “I just have to keep working. I love (Boone), the coaches and the training partners I’m going to have. It’s going to be better for me than anywhere else I could have gone.”