Drop into a Bolivar wrestling practice, and you’ll notice a theme.
“We look forward to coming into practice,” said Bolivar senior Hayden Burks.
These Liberators love being there.
“It’s fun, they’re great kids. The work their tails off,” said Bolivar Head Coach Jeff Davis.
In year two under Davis, the program is among the best in Class 2.
“[Davis is] the one that put me from getting second my sophomore year to winning it my junior year,” Hayden said.
But every great teacher needs a student.
For Davis, one of his best is Hayden .
“[Hayden] sets that example of what we should be doing or shouldn’t be doing,” Davis said. “And he’ll occasionally pull a guy aside and have a conversation but he shows up and puts his work gloves on and gets after it.”
That mentality is a source of pride for Hayden, as he tries to help shape the future of the program.
“A lot of these younger guys look up to me, the freshman and the sophomores so I try to work my hardest in this room and have them shadow me,” Hayden said.
That work earned Hayden last year’s 160 pound state title.
But he says leadership didn’t always come so easily.
“If you would’ve asked me a year ago, I would’ve said no, but with the role I played in football, it’s kind of what I like to do now. It’s comfortable.,” Hayden said.
Success as Liberators quarterback in the fall helped Hayden find the confidence to lead.
It’s fitting, because it’s the football field where Hayden will continue his athletic career in college at Southwest Baptist University.
That means the next few weeks will be his last on the mat, where he’s competed since he was five years old.
“It would be awesome to go out on a win, to go out on a state championship,” Hayden said.
If you ask Coach Davis, there’s no doubt.
“I fully expect him to win and compete well and hopefully lead us to another state trophy,” Davis said.
Until then, you’ll find Hayden at practice , putting in the work and having fun the whole way.