But one thing, one honor has always eluded the program: A state champion ... until now.
Jessen Hendrix, a soft-spoken senior, won a state title in his final year at Belleview in the 152-pound weight class, and finally grabbed the school its first state championship in the sport.
The three-time state qualifier went to the state tournament on a mission this year after falling short the first two tries.
“I’ve always been determined to get better. I remember watching the state tournament my freshman year, and watching the level of competition from those guys motivated to get there myself, so it’s a great feeling to finally see the hard work pay off,” Hendrix said.
Over four years, Hendrix won 165 matches and was one of three state qualifiers for Belleview this season.
“You saw improvement each year from him. He would leave after our practice was over and go work out with some of the other former and current state wrestlers. He always wants to improve and get better,” BHS wrestling coach Gary Hall said. “Jessen and Kyle (Irwin, state runner-up) worked so hard each practice and it proved to be true with both of them making it to the state finals.”
Hall says that Jessen’s attitude and commitment to the sport is what truly lifted him to a state title this year.
“He’s intense, and such a good kid. After all the hours we’ve all seen him put in, he deserves this,” Hall said.
Hendrix started wrestling at six years old, but he says that once he went to high school, he was motivated to step his game up.
“I’d watch my brother (Brett Hendrix, 2015 Trinity Catholic graduate) wrestle, and seeing him get better and all of the competition he faced, that made me want to push myself to get to that point too,” Hendrix said.
Jessen says that he doesn’t plan on wrestling in college, and hasn’t made his final college decision, but if this is it for him, he’s definitely going out at the top.