Delavan-Darien High’s Marcus Hudson wrestling with final days of practice
If things go according to plan, the Delavan-Darien High senior has to endure only 10 more of coach Craig Lodahl’s grueling wrestling practices.
Get by that, and Hudson can start focusing on how to cross the middle on a slant pattern while trying to avoid a 230-pound linebacker.
Hudson is 36-0 this season at 182 pounds and is ranked second in the state in Division 2. Yet the 6-foot-1, 175-pound Hudson, affectionately nicknamed Woody, is hanging up his singlet following the high school season.
He will play football in the fall for three-time defending NCAA Division III champion UW-Whitewater. Coach Lance Leipold plans to play Hudson at wide receiver.
Although he finished fourth at state last year in wrestling and is zeroing in on a state title this year, Hudson said the decision was an easy one.
“I’ve loved football since the third grade,” Hudson said. “And once I started growing a little bit and had some success in the sport, I knew that’s what I wanted to do in college. It’s 20 minutes from home, has a real nice campus and great coaches.
“Wrestling is a lot of fun when you’re actually competing and step on the mat, but the practices and the conditioning involved takes a lot out of you. I know I’m going to have to work just as hard at Whitewater, but nothing can be worse or harder than coach’s (Lodahl) practices.”
As a scrawny 5-5, 112-pound freshman, Hudson knew he was too small to make a major contribution on the football field. He hit a growth spurt before his junior year, and along with the added height and weight, came the ability to dominate on the mat and the football field.
Hudson helped Delavan-Darien’s football team make a run to the state semifinals in 2010 and finished fourth at state at 171.
Lodahl said Hudson’s natural ability is the biggest reason for his success in wrestling.
“Woody is gifted in the sense that he doesn’t have the wrestling background that a lot of kids have, yet he still is one of the top wrestlers in the state,” Lodahl said.
“He’s very disciplined, and he has learned to use his talent to the best of his abilities. Wrestling is a very demanding sport. And he’s lucky that he hasn’t had to watch what he eats or try and lose weight because he’s in such good shape already.”
Hudson credits an aggressive style for his unbeaten record this season.
He’s ranked second in the state behind Haydon Dvorak of Somerset and won the Southern Lakes Conference title last Saturday.
In football his senior season, Hudson caught 48 passes for 1,105 yards and 11 touchdowns. He accounted for 150 yards of total offense a game, and also intercepted six passes, including two that he returned for touchdowns.
The only way Hudson gets out of any more of Lodahl’s intense practices is if he fails to qualify for the sectional or state meet.
At 36-0 this season and virtually unchallenged, that’s not likely to happen.
Hudson will gladly trade a few more days of practice for a state title.
“My goal coming into the season was to place higher than I did last year,” Hudson said. “But now, with the way things have gone this season, winning state is the goal.”
Even if it means a couple extra weeks of practice.