TENNERTON – The Wheeling University wrestling and track and field team just got a whole lot better.
That is because the wrestling team just brought in a former West Virginia State High School wrestling champion, and the track and field team is taking on a state qualifier in three events at the state meet this weekend when Buckhannon-Upshur’s Julius Hobbs signed his letter of intent to become a Cardinal in a recent signing ceremony at the high school.
Hobbs plans to wrestle and run track and field for the Cardinals with the primary focus on wrestling.
“I feel that wrestling will get me a lot farther, it’s why I want to focus on it first,” stated Hobbs. “And I really enjoy wrestling.”
On the mat, Hobbs is a four-time state qualifier.
As a sophomore, he finished third in the state at 120 pounds and during his junior year in 2020, Hobbs won a Big 10 Conference wrestling title, the Region I championship and a state championship wrestling at 126 pounds. He ended his junior season with a 44-5 mark and won his 100th match of his B-U career that year.
As a senior, he went 2-2 at the state championships in a very tough 126-pound division.
As a track performer, Hobbs had his junior season wiped out by COVID-19 but just qualified this year for three events at the state meet this weekend in the pole vault and as part of two relay teams, the 4x800-meter relay team and the shuttle hurdle relay team.
Hobbs said Wheeling was just the right fit for him after taking a visit there.
“Wheeling is a good school,” remarked Hobbs. “They seemed more interested in me than other schools. When I took a tour of the campus, the coaches just made me fall in love with the place. With just how the campus and the classes are set, it just seemed like the best fit for me.”
Hobbs said that it was originally the sport of wrestling that landed him at Wheeling.
“I was really impressed with the team,” stated Hobbs. “You got the sense from them that they are willing to put in the hard work to be winners. They want to work hard and be successful.”
The wrestling program at Wheeling started in 2013 and is led by head coach Daniel Ownbey
Hobbs said he knows being a two-sport athlete in college won’t be easy, but he views it as a way to stay in shape for both seasons.
“I just want to stay fit for both sports,” remarked Hobbs. “I want to be the best on the mat and on the track and field. I think doing both will help me in that regard.”
Hobbs says he expects to wrestle at 133-pounds as a freshman while competing in the pole vault in track and field.
“Really, wherever they want to put me on the track will be fine with me,” noted Hobbs.
The Cardinal track and field program just earned runner-up honors this spring in the MEC Championships.
Jacob Orr, Hobbs’ head wrestling coach at Buckhannon-Upshur, sees unlimited potential for the newest Cardinal.
“When you get to the level that Julius has, just about everyone there will be a state champ or state qualifier,” remarked Orr. “Iron sharpens iron and Julius has always bought into that. I know he will go to Wheeling and work hard and will continue to succeed. He was a great leader at Buckhannon-Upshur for us. I am going to miss him. You build these bonds with the guys over that four-year period. I am proud to see him go onto the next level but it is hard knowing he is leaving the program.”