If his experience has taught C.J. Hamblin anything, it’s that change can be a good thing.
So the fact that he is charging into the postseason wrestling for a new school, at a new classification and a new weight won’t keep the Mountain View senior from reaching his goal of another state championship.
Hamblin spent his first three years attending and wrestling at Seton Catholic High School, where he won the 1A state title at 145 pounds as a freshman and the 152 title as a sophomore.
“When I was younger, I didn’t think I would ever go to Seton Catholic,” Hamblin said. “But once I went there, it had me. I owe a lot of my success to their academics, to their culture. And everything I achieved there, beyond injuries and stuff, was just all gravy for me. I was just happy I got to go there.”
For his senior year, Hamblin decided to transfer to Mountain View High School where he could spend his last year of high school with friends he had grown up with.
And Hamblin has grown up. He wrestled at 160 pounds as junior during the abbreviated COVID season. And this season, he is wrestling at 170 pounds.
The new weight class and school classification hasn’t kept him from being the top-ranked wrestler at 3A at 170 pounds. In fact, the Washington Wrestling Report ranks Hamblin at No. 2 among wrestlers of all classifications at 170 pounds.
Still, the new weight class has involved some adjustment for Hamblin.
“I’ve been having a harder time wrestling against these bigger wrestlers,” Hamblin said. “Not only because they are stronger wrestlers, but I’m just used to moving, moving, moving. And usually at the 170s, they aren’t moving as much. I’m used to when I head-fake, they react. But at 170, they don’t react as much. It’s a little bit different, just going for it. It doesn’t feel as smooth to me.”
Hamblin was able to roll through the 3A district tournament last weekend at Prairie High School, taking the title with a couple of pins.
When he wasn’t on the mat last weekend at Prairie, Hamblin was sporting his Oregon State wrestling T-shirt, having just signed a national letter of intent with the Beavers.
But even that decision wasn’t met without some alterations along the way.
“I was talking with a lot of colleges through the entire recruiting process. And there was a time there when Oregon State for me was like ‘I don’t know. It’s kind of close to home. I don’t know if it will be the right fit for me.’
“But then it was crazy. I was originally committed to Northern Colorado. But then there are some things that fell through, that didn’t work out for me. And then right after that happened. Oregon State called me up. It was just like all God. I ended up talking with them, taking a visit. And then after that, I just loved it there. And praise God. He was able to give me the talent to be able to go to the next level and compete there.”
Next up for Hamblin is the 3A regional tournament on Saturday at Eastside Catholic High School in Sammamish, where he hopes to clinch another state berth.
Then he will take aim at his third state championship, an opportunity he didn’t get last year because of COVID.
“Just to get that one last chance to compete for a state title before I got off to college, I’m just really excited for that,” he said.