By: Scott Keyes
Zac Hall named Sports Scene's Male Athlete of Year
ST. JOHNS, MI – Like most fathers, Jeff Hall used to wrestle around the house with his toddler son, Zac.
During those fun scuffles, Jeff noticed something that would shape the future of his young son.“I would roll around with him; we would mess around in the living room, and he always seemed to roll the right way. He just seemed to have a gift.”
So Jeff entered Zac in youth wrestling, and a sports career was born.
“The first year, when he was five, he was doing USA wrestling,” Jeff said. “MY WAY (Michigan Youth Wrestling Association, which focuses on folkstyle wrestling) didn't start until he was seven. USA Wrestling was just freestyle and Greco Roman wrestling, and when MYWAY started, Zac's opportunities to wrestle increased.”
And so did Zac's talent. He became better and better and won several youth state and individual titles.
When he got to high school, he continued to shine, becoming just the 18th wrestler to win four MHSAA individual state championships. He also helped his team to three state titles and finished his high school wrestling career with a 198-2 record.
This month, Zac Hall became just the second wrestler in the nation to be a five-time all American at the prestigious Fargo (ND) National Tournament for freestyle and Greco Roman styles.
For this great resume, Zac Hall has been named the High School Sports Scene Male Athlete of the Year.
“I'm pleased with my career; it's been awesome,” he said. “I was unsure at first when I moved to St. Johns from Ithaca, but it has been an awesome ride. And now I ended up going to the college of my dreams, so it's all gone perfectly.”
Hall accepted a scholarship to continue his wrestling career at the University of Michigan.
On the way to where he is now, Hall made a lot of sacrifices for the sport he loves. “When I was 10 years old, I quit baseball for wrestling, and then later on, football,” Hall said. “I just kept having success at a young age; I liked winning and all the medals and trophies. When I got older, I knew this sport could be the path to my future and getting a degree.”
And Jeff Hall has been there the whole way to see all the successes, which he said came from a lot of hard work.
“He has exceeded all of my expectations,” Jeff said. “When he transferred from Ithaca to St. Johns, we knew he could do some things with the guys he had to work out with there. And it all came true.
“I knew he could be really good when he was like eight or nine,” he added. “I could remember him and (St. Johns teammate) Ben Whitford were partners for three years. The two of them together were like a machine. It was just the intensity and work ethic.”
In a tough sport like wrestling, work ethic is the most important thing to success, according to Hall.
“The training is the hardest part,” Zac said. “You get what you put into it. The training is intense, very intense. It's a year-long commitment. You have weight lifting, running, wrestling, dieting. If you don't train the right way, it all won't matter.”
Those Athletes That Just Missed
Eric Davis, Saginaw Arthur Hill; Class A Basketball Player of the Year
Alex Grace, Swan Valley; set MHSAA single-season rushing mark
Travis Smith, Ithaca; Mr. Football, helped lead the Yellowjackets to their fourth straight Division 6 title
Robert Backus, Mt. Pleasant; led the Oilers to a Division 2 baseball title
Logan Hessbrook, Ithaca; three-sport standout for the Yellowjackets
Nick Spitzley, Pewamo-Westphalia; led the Pirates to the Class C basketball state final before losing to Detroit Consortium
Jason Chang, Midland Dow; won his fourth straight Division 2 state championship while helping lead the Chargers to their fifth straight Division 2 team title
Keyon Addison, Saginaw; one of the most exciting players in the state on both the basektabll court and on the football field
Malik Taylor, Montrose; helped lead the Rams to the Division 6 semifinal round in football before losing to Ithaca by a point, also a standout basketball player for the Rams.
Lincoln Olson, Davison; won his third straight Division 1 wrestling title for the Cardinals.
Josh Wendling, New Lothrop; helped the Hornets to the Division 8 semifinal round in football, played a huge role in New Lothrop's title run in wrestling, and won his second straight individual wrestling title for New Lothrop.
Ty Rollin, Beal City; one of the most well-rounded athletes in the area with the ability to get it done on the field of play and in the classroom
Jordan Terry, Lansing Christian; helped lead the Pilgrims to a Division 4 soccer championship last fall and a standout basketball player
Dalton Trefill, Fulton; three-sport standout for the Pirates
Mike Alexander, Midland; played a huge role in Midland's football success last fall from his middle linebacker position