Hoose Has Sophomore Year To Remember
Dontae Hoose’s athletic career has been defined by overachieving.
Whether it be on the gridiron or the wrestling mat, there’s little doubt that the son of Joe and Johneen Hoose has learned to rise to the occasion at a young age.
“It’s what he’s been used to,” Southwestern wrestling coach Mark Arnold said of Hoose, the fourth member of his family to wrestle for the Trojans. “He’s grown up with three older brothers, we pulled him up to play varsity football as a freshman and was only in the eighth grade when he began wrestling varsity even then in the upper weight classes.”
Even after dropping his weight from 230 to 195 over the course of the season, Hoose, a sophomore, still aimed to compete at a weight class consisting mostly of upperclassmen.
The result? A 40-6 season record and a trip to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Wrestling Championships in February — the third member of his family to do so.
“What’s exciting for us is now he is that he’s still going to be in this position for two more years and is no longer the youngest,” Arnold added. “He’s going to have those experiences, that confidence and that exposure on big stages so when the time comes, he is going to shine.”
Perhaps Hoose’s most impressive triumph was a first-place finish at the Section VI state qualifier. Competing in front of a home crowd at the recently renovated Southwestern High School gymnasium, Hoose squeaked out a one-point victory over Falconer/Cassadaga Valley’s Brock Johnson in the semi-finals before sealing his state berth with a 10-1 major decision over Kyle Wittenrich of Franklinville/Cuba-Rushford.
“Brock is extremely tough and can hit you with a big move from about any position,” Arnold said of the bout with Johnson. “But, in the finals match Dontae showed that this was his title from start to finish. … He really showed why he deserved to be there.”
And, though his seeding at the state level drew him a top-four wrestler in the first round, Arnold described Hoose’s resilience in the consolation bracket as “nothing short of special” as he wrestled to a sixth-place finish in his bracket.
“Even at the state meet he was the lone sophomore in a bracket filled with juniors and seniors,” Arnold added. “To be the youngest in the bracket as a 13-seed, and have the composure and patience to just keep wrestling one match at a time is a testament to how far ahead he is of others his age.”
And, according to his coach, that will only continue to increase in the next two years.
“I expect to see Dontae’s confidence to really grow going into next year,” he said. “His leadership and work ethic is what is going to help him get better and also help our program build. Younger kids see what he was able to do in the 10th grade and that makes them want to strive to do it too, and now we have that in our room for two more years to use as an example.”
“Dontae is going to be a state champion in the near future,” said Maple Grove head coach Mark Hetrick, who also serves Hoose’s physical education teacher at Southwestern.
“He’s one of the hardest-working kids I’ve ever been around,” he added. ” He is the type of kid that puts in the extra work. … He is truly a student-athlete and his contagious work ethic surrounds everyone around him.”
That work ethic goes beyond his teammates, according to Fredonia/Silver Creek/Pine Valley/Forestville/Brocton coach Joe Santilli.
“I know some of the guys on my team do informal workouts with him, Alex Christy and Ceric Kristan, so they communicate, work out,” Santilli said. “I just have watched Dontae progress and evolve, especially over the last year and a half. I know he puts the effort in, he’s highly competitive, you can tell he wants to improve and be as good as he can be.”
“He’s a fine young man and this sport is full of them,” he added. “He does stand out.”
That ability to stand out has earned him yet another accolade as The Post-Journal’s 2020 Wrestler of the Year.