Hestin Lamons knew all along. But he knew he also had to prove some people wrong.
“I don’t think many people on the outside thought I had it in me,” Lamons said. “But all along I knew I had all the potential to go D-I. I just had to prove to everyone else I was good enough.”
He did just that — in convincing fashion.
Lamons finished his senior season at 35-1 with a state championship at 152 pounds. On Wednesday, he parlayed that into signing a letter of intent with Oklahoma State University — the nation’s record holder for most national championships.
“I don’t think there is a better feeling than being able to say I’m signing with OSU,” said Lamons, who finished off his high school career with a 7-2 decision victory over Collinsville’s Wyatt Jordan at the Class 5A state tournament in Oklahoma City.
“I feel accomplished and relieved that all my work has paid off.”
Heading into his senior season, Lamons had only wrestled once for a state championship. That was his freshman season, and he followed up a runner-up showing with two third-place appearances.
He blew all of that out of the water during the 2013-2014 season.
He won tournament titles at Bristow, McAlester and Carl Albert before claiming a regional championship on his home mat prior to the state tournament.
All of that allowed him to ink with the Cowboys — a life-long aspiration.
“I have always dreamed of wrestling at OSU since I was just a little boy,” Lamons said. “...I just told myself, ‘follow your dreams,’ and sure enough, I was fortunate enough to be presented this opportunity to wrestle for them.”
Lamons’ decision to go to Oklahoma State came about not long after he stood atop the podium at State Fair Arena on March 1. But between that time and this week, other schools made a late push for Lamons to join their respective programs.
“I had several looks from several schools,” Lamons said. “The D-I schools I talked to were Columbia university in New York, Appalachian State and Wyoming University. I also talked to a number of D-II schools.”
Lamons could have opted to sign elsewhere, but he had always had his sights set on Oklahoma State.
“I was taught at a young age to dream big, set goals and to always follow your heart,” Lamons said. “I knew in my mind every day when I put on my wrestling shoes what I was working for and I truly believed in it. I wasn’t ending this season without a state title. And I wasn’t going to be happy in life without the opportunity to wrestle at OSU.”
Oklahoma State finished off the 2013-2014 season with two national champions — Chris Perry (174 pounds) and Alex Dieringer (157) — en route to a third-place finish overall in Oklahoma City.
Lamons knows he’ll have his work cut out for him from the moment he steps on campus.
“My projected weight for the Cowboys is going to be 149 and 157,” Lamons said. “I’ll most likely red-shirt my first year than hopefully squeeze my way into the lineup after that. Next year as a redshirt I’ll be able to wrestle in several open tournaments and get the feel for wrestling on that big of a stage.”