When it comes to wrestling, Hudson Staub says he’s more brain than athlete.
“I’m not the most athletic guy,” the Coeur d’Alene senior 182-pounder said. “I just mastered the cartwheel last year.”
To say Staub gets the most out of his abilities is spot on.
“He’s not a fast-twitch fiber athlete,” CdA coach Jeff Moffat said. “He slows the match down and stays in incredible body position. He doesn’t make mistakes.”
Staub is on track to become a four-time state medalist – something done by only two other wrestlers since Moffat became head coach in 2001. One of the four-timers is his older brother, Kenny, who holds the school record for most career victories (145).
The younger Staub can do something his brother never did by winning a state title. Kenny’s best finish was second. Hudson was fifth as a freshman and third as a sophomore. He thought he’d challenge for a state title last year, but he was plagued all season by a torn labrum. But he managed to take fifth.
“He could hardly wrestle live last year,” Moffat said. “It hurt his conditioning. It’s a real painful injury, but he was tough enough to wrestle through it.”
Staub had surgery following last season and came into this season poised for his best year.
He takes a 34-1 record to state, which begins a two-day run Friday at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa.
His one loss came against John Hensley of Meridian, the top-seeded wrestler in his bracket. CdA was at a duals tournament early in the season when Staub and Hensley hooked up. Hensley prevailed 5-3 on a controversial takedown as time expired in the final round.
Staub sat out the Tri-State tournament after he tweaked his surgically repaired shoulder. It’s been fine since coming back.
He’s gunning for a state title and hoping for a rematch with Hensley. Staub, as a third seed, is on the opposite side of the bracket.
“I was watching video of my last match with him today,” Staub said. “I wasn’t aggressive enough, that’s what I chalk the loss up to. I’ve changed a lot since then. I want him in the finals.”
But Staub isn’t going to overlook anyone along the way. He has a history with Hensley, losing to him in the semifinals at 170 last year.
“I lost to him unexpectedly last year,” Staub said. “I was looking past him. I was focused on the finals and that was a mistake.”
Moffat knows Staub won’t make the same mistake.
“He’s so dang smart,” Moffat said. “He’s extremely hard to score on because he doesn’t make mistakes and come out of body position. I have all the confidence in the world in him. I think he’ll be right there wrestling for a state championship. I know that’s what he’s shooting for.”
Staub has made himself into a wrestler. He will continue wrestling next year after being accepted by the Naval Academy. He’s signing off on nine years of active duty. He wants to study aeronautical engineering and be a pilot.
His brother is studying biochemical engineering at Brown University.
Staub, who sports a 4.33 grade-point average, ranks seventh in his class – and is the highest-ranked student-athlete.
His career record is 126-31. He hoped to challenge his brother’s career record, but the injury last year limited his matches.
So he would settle for the first-place finish his brother didn’t accomplish.
“It’s what I’ve been striving for since sixth grade,” Staub said. “The key is staying smart. If I wrestle like I can I have no doubts.”