PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The high school season may be postponed, but there are still plenty of young athletes to celebrate. In the first of our High School Senior Spotlight series, we head across the river and onto the mat to check in on Seton Catholic’s CJ Hamblin, who refuses to let COVID-19 derail his Olympic dream.
Like the rest of the Washington high school sports scene, the coronavirus pandemic stopped Hamblin’s practice routine in its tracks. So, the 16-year-old junior turned inward. For him, that meant getting up early and doing the work away from the mat.
“Whenever people are sleeping, you get up and do these things that not everyone does,” said Hamblin. “It’s just making those little gains. It’s not going to be huge margins that you’re actually going to be better than. At that point, everybody’s good at wrestling—it’s just getting to that next level. It’s just everything you guys don’t see.”
The grind is easy when you remember what you’re grinding for.
“I got my little cousin, Tahani, and she has a heart problem, and she’s about to be seven months,” said Hamblin. “She and her little brother, I love them so much and it’s just like, I’m trying to…do it for her, in a way.”
The two-time Washington State Champion wants to four-peat and go on to dominate college, and eventually make an Olympic team. All that, so he can give back to the people who got him here.
“I want to show them thank you, and just like, show them that everything you guys did was for a reason.”