Tigers' Hayden Randolph signs with University of Cumberlands
by David Royal
Jan 24, 2013 | 1101 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Adairsville High’s Hayden Randolph will be taking his wrestling moves to the University of the Cumberlands.

Randolph was offered an academic and sports scholarship to the Williamsburg, Ky., private college, where he will start work toward a career in pharmacy in the fall.

Randolph said he became interested in the University of the Cumberlands after searching for a college that would allow him to pursue his academic goals and use his wrestling skills at the collegiate level.

He said UC has had success in the sports in recent years. The school was ranked No. 11 in the nation in the most recent NAIA poll. It competes in the Mid-South Conference.

Joey Harris, varsity wrestling coach at Adairsville, said Randolph has represented the school well as a wrestler.

“He’s 26-3 this year,” Harris noted. “He was the Region 7-AA runner up last year. He’s a two-time state qualifier.”

The coach said one of the big keys to Randolph’s success has been the amount of work he has put into wrestling and his academics.

“He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do and then did a lot of things on his own,” Harris said.

He described Randolph as “a student of the sport.”

“He’s not the most naturally athletic, but he’s always worked hard to reach his goals. He’s proof to me if you work hard, you can achieve your goals,” Harris added.

The coach said that success extends beyond the wrestling mat.

“He’s a model student/citizen,” Harris said. “He’s very respectful of people. I’m glad he’s getting to go to the next level both academically and athletically.”

Randolph, who competed in the 126-pound weight classification while at Adairsville, said UC coach Matt Lowers projects he will compete in the 133-pound classification beginning in the fall.

He was unconcerned about moving up in weight classifications, saying he just likes to compete.

“I like wrestling because you get a chance to beat someone one on one,” according to Randolph. “You really can’t do that in a lot of the other sports.”

The Adairsville senior has competed at his school in the varsity and middle school wrestling programs. “I just had friends who wrestled and they talked me into it,” he said of getting his start in the sport.

He said he’s enjoys competing.

“I wrestled for Team Georgia my sophomore year in Minnesota,” he added.

Randolph also placed third in the region as a freshman and sophomore.

He said he gets a the feeling of accomplishment when he does well.

“It feels good to have your hand raised at the conclusion of a match and know you’ve worked hard and put in more hard work than your opponent has,” he said.

Randolph said competing at state was a special experience. “The first time I competed, it was a little scary,” he recalled. “You learn, though, that you have to treat it like any other match.”

He said his second time in state competition was easier. “You know how things will run throughout the competition.

“It does feel good to know you’re among the top of the state as a wrestler.’