Hudson resident and high school varsity assistant wrestling coach Jesse Hoff traveled to Las Vegas to compete at the prestigious U.S. Open in the Veterans age division April 24-27. There are two styles in international wrestling, Freestyle and Greco-Roman. Hoff wrestled Freestyle and was in the 70 kilogram weight class. His age division was for anyone born between 1976 and 1984.
Hoff beat his first two opponents, who were from California and Arizona, before losing to the eventual champion, Jordin Humphrey, also out of California. Humphrey wrestled in college at Ohio State. Hoff won his fourth match against yet another California opponent. In his final match, for third place, Hoff faced the same opponent he had beaten earlier but this time lost and placed a very respectable fourth in his first time competing since the mid-1990s.
"I told Hansen (Hudson head coach Chris Hansen) almost a year ago that I had this crazy urge to do this but asked him not to say anything until I passed the training phase of being to the point of no return," Hoff said. "Once I got there, I was fully committed and our wrestling team knew I would be doing this after the high school season finished."
Hoff was coached by both Hansen and Kurt Beinlich.
"It is weird being a coach and you are also being coached, but when you are training and competing, you need extra eyes because you can never see what a coach sees and you can never plan like a coach can plan, even if you also play that role," Hoff said. "It is amazing that these two coaches never missed an opportunity to help. They gave me as much time and effort as we give our high school athletes. Beinlich even flew to Las Vegas to be my corner coach. I have a lot of gratitude for these two and their help."
Hoff said high school wrestler Peter Hansen, Chris' son, was probably the most important ingredient to his success because he is who Hoff trained with.
"Peter is not only a very successful Folkstyle wrestler (the style in American high schools and colleges), he is maybe even better at Freestyle," Hoff said. "I could not have done this without him and to think he pulled double duty, helping me while also trying to get to high school state for himself. I really appreciate him."
Peter Hansen said it was a pleasure to help Hoff train.
"These coaches do everything for us kids all year round, so giving a little back to Coach Hoff was a no-brainer," he said. "It is incredible to see these coaches put their money where their mouth is. It is motivating for us on the team."
Hoff also called on a few others to train, such as college students and Hudson High School alumni Jacob and Mitchell Anderson, among others.
Chris Hansen said people need to realize that the wrestling was the easy part of Hoff's training.
"All of us, myself, Beinlich, and Hoff, have wrestled our entire life," he said. "We are all on the mat year round. But what Jesse did was amazing. For six to eight months, he lifted with a trainer, he dropped 15 kilograms with an incredible diet, he began doing yoga weekly, and he put on just an incredible number of miles on the treadmill. While the wrestling practice did become more technical and intentional, wrestling is what we love so that was the easy part."
Hansen said Hoff told him he has never felt so good as a result of his training.
"He is in his forties now and is in the best shape of his life," Hansen noted. "Jesse was able to do all this while also running his concrete business. I am very impressed. The things that we tell our athletes that the sport teaches you, things like discipline, goal setting, healthy lifestyles and having fortitude, coach Hoff has exemplified them and has proven it true that if you are involved in wrestling, you will leave with those traits."