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Tier 1 of Idaho Prep Wrestling: Hoyt Hvass, Lewiston
Al Fontes tells us the remarkable story of Lewiston's Hoyt Hvass
Published: 1/31/2024 4:51:57 PM
Al Fontes
Contributing Writer
 

ORDER GAME PHOTOS

PREVIOUS TIER 1 PROFILES

Aden Attao, Borah
Tanner Frothinger, Eagle
Mack Mauger, Blackfoot
Dedrick Navarro, Nampa
Jaxton Packer, South Fremont

The next wrestler in my TIER ONE series began his journey on the mat at a very young age and from the beginning experienced a great deal of success at multiple levels in addition to competing overseas and gaining valuable international experience as well. In spite of that, he has had his share of challenges both physically and mentally on the way. Now a senior at Lewiston High School, Hoyt Hvass is well into his final prep season ranked #1 and presently on course to challenge for a third state title in the 132-pound weight division (5A). Already committed to compete at the collegiate level, Hoyt brings to the sport excitement, leadership, and a life experience that must be told.

The sport of wrestling has been an integral part of Hoyt’s family for a couple of generations and as a result it was almost inevitable that he would be exposed to it as well. For instance, his father (Hoyt) competed for a year in high school and maternal grandfather (Jerry Lorton), a prep star in the state of Washington reached the championship finals of the 1978 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes (NAIA) for Eastern Washington University, earning All-American honors and an Outstanding Wrestler Award in the process. In due course, Hoyt was introduced to wrestling at the age of 5 and was hooked from the first day he entered the circle.

For a majority who are introduced to the great sport of wrestling early on, the first experience is not always positive. Anyone who has entered the circle understands firsthand that wrestling is by far one of the most physically and mentally challenging sports on the planet. To remain in wrestling for an extended period of time requires a great deal of mental fortitude, discipline, and commitment to reach some form of success and achievement. As for Hoyt, he gravitated to the sport from day one and after a few months of practice earned his first title at a local kid’s tournament.  





After about a year or so, Hoyt’s desire to compete on the mat increased two-fold as he entered every local and state level competition possible in Washington and abroad. Despite his parent’s efforts to broaden his extracurricular activities by introducing T-Ball to him, Hoyt rejected it and made it clear that he had no additional interests other than wrestling. According to Hoyt, “T-Ball made no logical sense to me…I had no doubt that wrestling was my passion.”

In my previous article, I mentioned that in life, we have dreams, pursue goals, and to achieve at the highest level possible is an extensive process coupled by an array of challenges that more often than not deters a vast majority from ever sustaining long enough to experience their full potential. In Hoyt’s case, he had experienced an exceptional amount of success early on by not only placing at or earning a multitude of titles at local, state, and regional kid’s competitions, but also a good share of All-American honors at the national level. Despite all of his early success on the mat, as well as in the classroom, Hoyt was feeling an immense amount of internal pressure that was not so transparent externally to those around him. To come to the point, nobody in Hoyt’s life saw what was to come.

According to his parents, he was a happy go lucky kid, smiling all of the time, and he seemed to have no cares in the world. One day, it all came crashing down, and by the grace of God, Hoyt survived the family’s worst nightmare when he tried to take his own life at the age of 11. Miraculously, he was saved by an angel here on Earth, who while passing by and saw Hoyt in deep trouble, immediately went into action and saved his life. With this in mind, children today are under an immense amount of pressure compared to previous generations and it’s important for them to have the tools and coping skills to manage their emotions. That is exactly what Hoyt’s parents did by making sure Hoyt got the necessary help he needed to come back from that low point and be the emotionally healthy young man he is today. It’s important to note the Hvass family wanted to share this portion of Hoyt’s life to help destigmatize mental health struggles so that other kids will reach out for help when feeling as low as Hoyt was at that moment in time.

Moving forward, Hoyt regrouped and continued his winning ways for the next few years, but by the time he reached the middle school level, a series of injuries sidelined him for an extended period of time. As a result, he was only able to muster up three to four matches for the duration. Despite everything, it was his passion for the sport that kept him focused for the future and the challenges that lie ahead at the prep level.

 

“Hoyt’s passion for the sport shows in his dedication and work ethic in the room. His constant eagerness to improve helps not only himself, but all our athletes in the room get better.”

  • Bob Maurer, Lewiston Wrestling Club Coach

 

At this juncture in Hoyt’s wrestling journey, he entered Clarkston High School during the 2020-’21 season with high hopes of winning four Washington state titles and much more. If being sidelined for a majority of his middle school experience wasn’t enough, now living in the midst of a pandemic did not help matters in any respect. The absoluteness of the COVID lockdowns coupled by the imposed restrictions not only disrupted the natural flow of day-to-day life, but also generated a great deal of uncertainty for the future, both in the classroom and on the mat. In short, the “learning process” in the classroom was in constant flux and it was becoming ever more transparent that a wrestling season with a year-end state championship was not going to materialize. Unfortunately, all came to fruition and Hoyt’s goal of winning four state titles was not going to happen. At best, he was able to wrestle about seven matches by the end of the school year.

It's not difficult to surmise that the COVID pandemic caused a major system shock to our society throughout and in the process perturbed the equilibrium of any normalcy we had prior. Under the circumstances, a great deal of change followed for a majority. Later that summer, the Hvass family packed their house and made the short move across the bridge to Lewiston, Idaho, which is a stone’s throw from Clarkston on the border of Washington and the Snake River. If anything was a driver for change, it was maintaining consistency in their three kid’s educational experience, which was not happening in their present setting.

With a strong performance at the Washington State Freestyle and Greco Championships in addition to the Western Regionals, the move to Lewiston in June of 2021 proved positive for Hoyt and his family as they transitioned into their new setting without a hitch and prepared for the upcoming prep season at Lewiston High School. Having already competed for the Lewiston Wrestling Club since the age of 7, Hoyt was in familiar territory with the coaching staff and wrestlers. From day one, he put his nose to the grind stone and not too long after impacted the Idaho wrestling scene with titles at Tri-State, Districts, and the 5A Idaho State Championships.

Coming off a strong showing at the 5A Idaho State Championships, Hoyt was more than ready for the summer circuit, especially after missing a lot of mat time during middle school and COVID lockdowns. Several weeks after high school state, he won additional state titles in both Freestyle and Greco, receiving the designation of Triple Crown Winner in the process. Not too long after, Hoyt had the opportunity of a lifetime to travel overseas with a group that takes kids on annual trips to different parts of the world to gain international wrestling experience and learn about different cultures. The first trip sent a contingent to compete at the Tallin Open in the Baltic country of Estonia, which is considered the largest and most competitive youth tournament in Europe. Overall, it was a trip well spent as Hoyt earned a Silver medal in Freestyle and placed fourth in Greco. On top of that, he was able to visit other countries, such as Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic, and Hungary.

Not too long after returning to the states, Hoyt competed at the US Open, but did not place. He then competed at the Cadet National Duals with Team Idaho. Shortly thereafter, he joined another group of American youth wrestlers that traveled to New Delhi, India to compete against local clubs. What’s more, Hoyt and his teammates had the distinct opportunity to wrestle in India’s folkstyle “Kushti,” or mud wrestling, which is contested primarily in South Asia. When we discussed his experiences with international wrestling, Hoyt said, “I learned so much…It truly helped me grasp how many people in the United States don’t appreciate wrestling, but over there, they love wrestling, appreciate wrestling…you are a hero to the people.”

Upon his return from India, Hoyt prepared for the Fargo Nationals in the 16U Division. Without a doubt, the Fargo Nationals is among the toughest prep level tournament in the country and to earn All-American honors is a large undertaking. Despite a great effort, Hoyt did not place, but this did not deter him for preparing for his junior season at Lewiston.

The 2022-’23 season went as planned for Hoyt as he experienced a lot of success during the regular season and then capped his junior year by earning a second District and 5A State Championship. He then added to his long list of accolades by placing in both styles at the Idaho Junior State Championships along with an All-American honor at the US Open. Once again, he represented Team Idaho at the Junior National Duals where the Gem State placed fourth among the top states in the country. Not too long after, he competed at Fargo for the second time, but just missed earning All-American honors in Greco by one match. The experience was bitter sweet for him as Team Idaho earned its first National Team title in Greco-Roman. According to Hoyt, “It was an experience of a lifetime to be part of a championship team at this level…celebrating when they gave the trophy to Chris Owens and Team Idaho was something I’ll never forget.” Not one to make excuses, Hoyt kept his head high and moved forward to prepare for his senior season.

I had a moment to discuss Hoyt’s wrestling journey with USA Idaho leader Chris Owens. He stated the following, “My experience with coaching Hoyt has been very positive and meaningful. My initial experience and interaction with coaching Hoyt was that he was quiet, always respectful and was figuring out how to climb up the pecking order of successful wrestlers around his age and weight within the state. It's been fun watching and being part of his jump from youth to high school wrestling. It’s pretty evident to me that his competitiveness is the diesel engine that drives his work habits and desire to not only compete with the best, but to beat the best…he is doing a great job of making a name for himself at the national level and is always willing to put it on the line against anyone, anywhere at any time. As a coach, I don't think there is a guy I would rather have out there when the match is on the line. He will fight past where most will stop. Anybody that spends much time around Hoyt on the wrestling mat quickly becomes a fan of his quiet demeanor because it doesn't take long to see there is a competitive giant in him.”

In the classroom, Hoyt is an exceptional student and currently maintains a 3.5 grade point average. Additionally, he is active with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and volunteers his extra time coaching at the youth level with the Lewiston Wrestling Club. More recently, he committed to continue his academic and wrestling career at North Idaho College (NIC). According to Lewiston Head Coach, Colton Maddy, "Hoyt's a hammer who wrestles year-round and all around the world. He's relentless in pursuing offense in his positions, he's freakishly strong for his weight and the longer you wrestle him the tougher it gets. He has an incredibly high bonus point percentage which is huge for building and maintaining momentum in the lineup. He's committed to NIC and we can't wait to see him chase All American status at the next level."

As of this writing, Hoyt is well into his senior year and has had a solid season thus far. Reflecting back on his long journey, I am impressed by this young man’s outlook in life and his resolve to move forward in the midst of any challenges or adversity. Although he went through mental health struggles as a preteen, he has shown resilience and dedication to improving his overall wellness. I appreciate Hoyt and his parents for being so open about his past, and I want to emphasize the importance of reaching out to ask for help if you are struggling by speaking to a parent, teacher, coach, or other trusted adult.

With less than a month left in the season, Hoyt is close to reaching the 100-career pin mark at 93 pins and is in position to earn a possible third Idaho State title. I wish him the best of luck and look forward to his journey moving forward. This past week, I conducted a Q&A interview with Hoyt. We discussed wrestling, family, goals, trips overseas, and much more. Enjoy!!

 

Q&A INTERVIEW WITH HOYT HVASS

HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED IN THE SPORT OF WRESTLING?

HOYT My Dad started bringing me to tournaments when I was 5. I really liked it, so we started going to more practices and tournaments and it really snowballed from there.

 

WHO HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCE IN WRESTLING?

HOYTMy biggest influence is probably my Dad, because he was the one to get me into it. He’s also helped me throughout the entirety of my wrestling career, helping me with weight, technique, and most importantly, the mental aspect. He’s the best and I can’t possibly thank him enough for all that he’s done for me.

 

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO DISCUSS IN REGARDS TO YOUR PERSONAL STRUGGLES WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER?

HOYT I’d like to say that wrestling is like life, you get out of it what you put into it, but wrestling isn’t ACTUALLY life. Your accomplishments don’t define you any more than your grades, relationship status, what job you hold, how much money you make, or anything else like that. The most important thing in life is striving to be a better person every day and loving the people that you care about.  If you’re feeling the weight of the world bearing down on you don’t hesitate to talk to somebody about it. I’ve also found that my relationship with Jesus has helped me to keep my mind on track and I’m thankful for that. It’s important to keep a healthy mindset in both wrestling and in life and I would encourage everyone to use all of your tools available to maintain that.

 

NOW THAT YOU’RE WELL INTO YOUR SENIOR SEASON, WHAT ARE YOUR SHORT- AND LONG-TERM GOALS POST LEWISTON HIGH SCHOOL?

HOYTMy short-term goal is to try and get team spirit up in duals. I feel like it makes duals so much more fun when everyone is cheering each other on, and the energy is high, that’s something that I would like to take the leadership role on. My long-term goal is to try and break the pin record set by Bryce Parson, with the number of matches left, I might not be able to do it, but it’s all just for fun. I’m really close to 100 career pins as well and that is a fun mark to shoot for.

 

HAVING HAD SOME GREAT SUCCESS AT THIS POINT IN YOUR CAREER, DESCRIBE YOUR TRAINING ROUTINE AND YOUR OUTLOOK IN THE YEARS AHEAD.

HOYTMy training routine starts right after I wake up, I get a sweatshirt on and I go on a quick jog around the block, just to get my metabolism going. Then after school I practice with the team for two and a half hours, then after practice I go on a forty-five-minute run to get a little extra weight off before I shower. I’m looking forward to learning new techniques and training regimens in college.

 

DESCRIBE YOUR ACADEMIC AND WRESTLING EXPERIENCE AT LEWISTON HIGH SCHOOL.

HOYTIt’s honestly been great. The teachers are nice, so are the other students…the learning environment is relaxed and it’s probably the best school I’ve been to, academic-wise. My wrestling experience has been fun as well. I like the team, the competition is a lot of fun too, the duals are definitely a highlight. Life is good when you’re a Bengal.

 

WHAT ARE YOUR ACADEMIC GOALS AT LEWISTON HIGH SCHOOL AND BEYOND?

HOYTMy academic goal at Lewiston is to get straight A’s for this last semester of High School, then in college I want to continue this trend until I get my two-year degree. I’m hoping my time at NIC opens up more opportunities so I can continue my academics with the tools they’ve provided me.

 

DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE COMPETING FOR TEAM USA AT THE TOUGHEST YOUTH TOURNAMENT IN EUROPE, THE TALLIN OPEN IN ESTONIA.

HOYT It was so much fun! I really enjoyed representing the U.S., competing with the European wrestlers was a lot of fun too…they had a vastly different style than wrestlers in the states. It was a fun challenge to wrestle them and I’m truly blessed to have the opportunity to go overseas and represent our country.

 

DESCRIBE YOUR WRESTLING EXPERIENCE IN NEW DELHI, INDIA.

HOYTThis was so crazy! The guys I wrestled were so much bigger than me in most of my matches…a couple even had beards. The style of wrestling was interesting too, imagine Folkstyle without points or time limit, with less restrictions, and if both of your shoulders touch the floor at any time, you’re pinned. One day I was wrestling in a huge mud pit, dressed like Mowgli, surrounded by people yelling in a strange language. It was absolute madness. It was fun to adjust to the new style and challenges it brought. Just the experience of being there in India was crazy too…they have above-ground sewers there, so it didn’t smell great, and a lot of people wanted to take pictures with me, because I have blonde hair, and that’s really uncommon over there in India.

 

HAVING COMMITTED TO NORTH IDAHO COLLEGE (NIC), WHAT ARE YOUR SHORT AND LONG-TERM GOALS AT THE COLLEGIATE LEVEL?

HOYT My short-term goal is to get onto the starting lineup, and my long-term goals is to both get to Nationals and to get straight A’s.

 

IS THERE AN OLYMPIAN, COLLEGIATE LEVEL WRESTLER, COACH OR SOMEONE OUTSIDE OF THE SPORT OF WRESTLING THAT YOU WANT TO ASPIRE TO BE SOMEDAY?

HOYT I admire Rulon Gardner; we’re good friends and I really look up to him. I think it’s great that he’s trying to lose weight and make another Olympic Run, I think it’s awesome. Even then, if you look back to him getting the Olympic Gold, he was up against Alexander Karelin, he’s an absolute monster, but Rulon ended up winning in the end. He’s an amazing guy and an amazing wrestler.

 

WHAT LIFE LESSONS HAVE YOU LEARNED IN WRESTLING THAT APPLIES IN YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LIFE?

HOYTWrestling has taught me that no matter how bad it gets or how hard it gets, you should never give up.

 

DESCRIBE WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO BE PART OF THE FIRST TEAM IN IDAHO HISTORY TO WIN A FARGO NATIONAL TITLE.

HOYTBeing at Fargo, getting a team title or not, is always a blast. I had so much fun wrestling and hanging out with the other Idaho wrestlers. I really wish I could’ve gotten past the blood rounds, but there’s nothing I can do about it now, all I can do is learn from it and grow. Celebrating when they gave the trophy to Chris Owens and Team Idaho was something I’ll never forget.

 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A YOUNG WRESTLER WANTING TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN THE SPORT OF WRESTLING OR IN LIFE?

HOYT If you want to be successful in both wrestling and life, you need to really want success, enough that you’ll do anything to obtain it, work more than everyone else, think more about it. Because in the end, if you want it more than the other guy, and you’ve put in the work, you’re probably going to come out on top.

 

WHAT OTHER GOALS DO YOU HAVE IN LIFE?

HOYT Well I’d like to have a family, I’d like to wrestle Greco as long as possible, and I want to give back to the sport of wrestling once I am done wrestling.

 

DO YOU HAVE A SAYING, MOTTO OR PHILOSOPHY THAT YOU LIVE BY?

HOYT “Nothing to it, but to do it.”

 

ONCE YOU ARE DONE COMPETING, DO YOU HAVE PLANS TO STAY INVOLVED WITH WRESTLING?

HOYTI think when I get back, I would love to Coach at Lewiston Wrestling Club. It would really be great to coach alongside Bob Maurer, Dan Maurer and the Lewiston alumni.

 

OUTSIDE THE SPORT OF WRESTLING, WHAT OTHER HOBBIES, SPORTS, AND FAMILY FUNCTIONS DO YOU ENJOY THE MOST?

HOYTI like to ride my bike, not mountain biking or anything, just like from place to place. I also like to swim, draw, and I think fencing is kind of fun too. I also love camping; family campouts is probably my favorite kind of family gathering.

 

ACADEMIC AND ATHLETIC PROFILE

 

SCHOOL: Lewiston High School (5A)

GRADE: 12 (Class of 2024)

WRESTLING CLUB: Lewiston WC (LWC)

WEIGHT: 132

COLLEGE COMMIT: North Idaho College (NIC)

 

ACADEMIC ACCOLADES

  • GPA: 3.5

 

EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

  • Active with Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA)
  • Volunteer Coach at the youth level with Lewiston Wrestling Club (LWC)

 

WRESTLING ACCOLADES

  • 3x Clearwater Classic Champion, ’22 – ’24
  • Rollie Lane Invitational – 3rd Place ‘24
  • Tri-State – 3rd ‘22, ‘23
  • US Open ALL-AMERICAN ’23
  • Team Idaho – Junior National Duals ’23
  • Idaho Junior Freestyle State Championships – 4th Place ‘23
  • Idaho Junior Greco State Championships – 2nd Place ’23
  • 2x Idaho 5A State Champion, ’22, ’23
  • 2x IHSAA 5A District I-II Champion, ’22, ’23
  • Tallin Open in Estonia – Silver Medalist (FS)/4th Greco ‘22
  • Team Idaho – Cadet National Duals "All Greco Team" ‘22
  • Idaho 16U Freestyle State Champion ‘22
  • Idaho 16U Greco State Champion ‘22
  • Idaho State Championship Triple Crown Winner ‘22
  • Tri-State Champion ’21
  • Western Regional Championships – 2nd Place ‘21
  • WA 16U Freestyle State Championships – 2nd Place ‘21
  • WA 16U Greco State Championships – 2nd Place ’21




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