After becoming the first national qualifier to come out of Castleton University’s first-year wrestling program, senior Zak Hale didn’t stop there.
Traveling to La Crosse, Wisconsin for the NCAA Division III Wrestling National Championships, Hale picked up the Spartans first-ever national tournament win with a victory in his second match of the tournament.
Although Hale’s single match win was enough to go down in Castleton wrestling history as the first ever National tournament victory, it was not enough to advance him any further in the tournament.
Hale believes despite his loss, he’s comfortable knowing he gave it his all.
“I was right there. I mean guys that I have been beating all year placed, I just fell a little short, but I was definitely right there,” said Hale.
His teammates agreed.
“He went 1-2 out there and I know he was a little disappointed, but he works his ass off and the guys he lost too placed pretty high,” said teammate Jakob Trautwein
“Zak’s loss at Nationals was unfortunate, but sometimes life doesn’t work out as planned. Zak trained hard to be a champion and came up short of his goals, but he should be proud of all that he accomplished throughout the season,” said teammate Jared Costa.
Strapping up his head gear and lacing up his wrestling shoes will now become a vivid memory for Hale, but he said he will not leave wrestling behind and has some plans in the works to continue working in the sport locally, but he said he can’t reveal details just yet.
Hale believes with the success of the first-year program, coach Scott Legacy can do a good job recruiting talent, but fears the facilities could be a falling point in potential interest of future recruits.
After being eliminated from the tournament, Hale and his father sat in their hotel room and worked on a proposal to maybe change that. He said more details will come.
Hale also plans on coming back to Castleton University to earn his masters degree in accounting and he said he wishes to stay here in his home state of Vermont, making sure that wrestling can remain a part of his life.
Despite spending three years at Anderson University, Hale is glad he ended his career where he did and is nothing but optimistic about the future of the program.
“I would have wanted my career to end different, as an All-American of course, but I wouldn't have wanted to spend it anywhere else. Coach Legacy, coach Forrest and coach Duca were really supportive and they put a lot of time and effort into it and really care about the team, not just as wrestlers but as people,” said Hale. “As for the team, coming from a program where the team really didn’t care to coming here, it was just awesome, all these guys just work their asses off and it was fun, they are all my brothers.”