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Hewitt trades mats for running shoes

December 06, 2003|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

Devin Hewitt is listed No. 1 in the Maryland State Wrestling Association's Class 2A-1A preseason rankings at 160 pounds.

But don't expect the Williamsport senior to hold the top billing for much longer.

Hewitt, the West region champ and state runner-up at 152 last season, recently decided not to wrestle this winter. He's running indoor track for the Wildcats instead.

"It was the toughest decision of my entire life," Hewitt said. "It's a real tough thing to deal with. I mean, I've wrestled all my life. I was ranked No. 1 in the state."

But he probably made the right decision for his future plans. Hewitt, who was also a state runner-up in cross country last month, wants to run, not wrestle, in college.

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"He's a real good runner. He had an excellent cross country season," Williamsport first-year wrestling coach and former assistant Mike Rechtorovic said. "He's been getting some stuff from colleges for running, and that's what he wants to do in college - run.

"It's not the best thing for our team, but I hope it all works out for him."

Even had he decided to continue wrestling, Hewitt might not have been able to make much of an impact on the mat this season. He's still bothered by a nagging injury to his right knee.

"It blew up in the state finals last year," Hewitt said. "But I had it drained and then thought nothing of it. But I tried getting back on the mat right before the end of cross country and it hurt real bad."

He said the knee doesn't bother him when he runs.

"It's strictly from contact," he said. "When I run I don't feel it at all, but as soon as I get on the mat and take a couple of shots, it balloons up bad.

"The doctor said it would be best not to wrestle, and if I wanted to wrestle in college, I'd have to have surgery on it. ... I've had several coaches calling me about running, and it just looks like that's going to be a better deal."

Hewitt's wrestling record was 28-3 as a junior and 77-19 overall. Based on the state-meet results, he would have been Washington County's top returner.

"Devin did everything I ever asked of him except wrestle this season," Rechtorovic said. "But what are you going to do? I can't make him come out. I just have to wish him the best.

"He knows what he wants to do and he has to prepare for that. He doesn't want his knee to mess that up."

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