Teays Valley senior Gunner Havens is looking to put the finishing touch on one of the most successful prep careers in program history this weekend.
Havens is returning to the state wrestling championships for a fourth consecutive season, becoming only the second Viking to achieve that distinction (Brocky Leidecker, 2009-12). The 113-pound grappler is looking to climb the state podium for a third time on Sunday night, after finishing eighth in 2021 and fifth last season.
A Kent State signee, Havens is returning to Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center after finishing as a district runner-up last weekend at Hilliard Darby High School.
He started his road last weekend with a 4-1 win over Canal Winchester’s Bobby Davies, followed by pinning Worthington Kilbourne’s Blaise Parrill in just 24 seconds and recording a 14-7 decision against Marysville’s Gage Riley to qualify for the state tournament.
Havens is slated to face Oregon Clay freshman Garrison Weisner (41-6) on Friday in a Division I championship preliminary match.
Question: Where do you feel you are with your approach and technique on the mat compared to last year at this time going into the state tournament?
Answer: I feel very good going into the state tournament this weekend. I’ve had a great week of practice and I can’t wait for the opportunity to represent Teays Valley one more time!
Question: Do you feel like you are peaking going into the state tournament with how you have wrestled so far in the postseason?
Answer: Yes, I feel as if my training has paid off. I feel good going into the state tournament and I’m content with the results I’ve had since the postseason started.
Question: Talk to us about your practice and training routine and how it has pushed you to maximize your success under the bright lights?
Answer: I’ve been very lucky to have great drill partners in the room during my time here. I’ve always been able to grab someone to push me and have had the coaches there to spar with me from time-to-time. By having good practice partners, it allows me to get a good workout in and get ready for those tough matches.
Question: What is your goal for the state tournament?
Answer: The goal is to always go out there and win no matter who you’re up against, so I’m sticking to that. The key to success at the state level is all about being confident in yourself, trusting your coaches and trusting your training.
Question: You recently signed with Kent State to wrestle at the next level? Can you take us through the recruiting process and decision to become a Golden Flash?
Answer: This was a very fun part of my career for me, and I’m very happy with the decision I made. I meant some amazing people while I was in the recruiting process and got to see many amazing facilities. I feel confident in my decision to continue my wrestling and academic career at Kent State. After taking my official visit to Kent, I knew then that’s where I wanted to go. I really enjoyed the facilities the team gets to use, the school size, campus, academics offered and the coaching staff at Kent State.
Question: What will you major in at Kent State?
Answer: I will be majoring in health science at Kent State University, and plan to get my degree to be a physician’s assistant. I also plan on getting a minor in business finance while I attend Kent State. The medical field has always been on my mind, and I feel like I offer the characteristics to become successful in this field.