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Wrestling Is Family For Durant Grad Hendon Haley


Hendon Haley

Hendon Haley is a senior at Durant High School. His passion for wrestling started about 12 years ago when his oldest brother, who was a freshman at Durant at the time, introduced the sport to Haley. Haley, along with his three older brothers, has wrestled ever since.

In the wrestling season of 2019, he was Hillsborough county champion, regional champion, and placed fourth in the state of Florida. Haley is most proud of his success at the state tournaments.

“It’s the biggest thing that I’ve gotten out of all my hard work,” said Haley. “That is something I’ll never forget and something very important to me, it was really everything I wanted.”

This past year, Haley was again a Hillsborough County champion, but he also was district champion, placed third in regionals, and was a state qualifier.

“Something that motivates me would definitely be my brothers because they have always been there for me in the practice room and they’ve done very well themselves in high school,” said Haley.”

— Hendon Haley

“The hardest part about wrestling is that it is an individual sport. It is one hundred percent up to you and how you perform as a wrestler,” said Haley.

Haley has been able to progress over the years and create a positive mindset going into his matches. He strives to be the best he can be and is supported by the motivation from his brothers.

“Something that motivates me would definitely be my brothers because they have always been there for me in the practice room and they’ve done very well themselves in high school,” said Haley.

Haley came into high school naturally motivated to either match or top his brothers in wrestling. He says that it is good to look up to people who are the best at what you do and learn from them. Haley also looks up to Jordan Burroughs, Olympic athlete and four-time world champion freestyle wrestler.

He has wrestled for Durant wrestling since his freshman year and was the captain for the 2019-2020 wrestling season. All four of his brothers were also captain of the Durant team. He takes the role of being a captain seriously and works hard to make sure the team strives for success.

“It’s a very important job and that’s how you build teams, you got to start with good leadership,” said Haley.

Haley has plans to attend Florida college, a Christian college in Temple Terrace. He doesn’t plan on continuing wrestling in college, but he wants a role in the wrestling community as either a coach, referee, or as someone who helps individuals with wrestling techniques.

Haley will miss his wrestling family after high school. He plans to keep in touch with teammates and attend Durant wrestling tournaments.

“We have one of the longest seasons of any other high school sport, so to be together with guys like that every day in the room for so long I’m going to miss that family aspect of just being there and grinding through hard times,” said Haley.

About the Writer
Photo of Adamari Jaimez
Adamari Jaimez, Staff Writer

Adamari Jaimez is a senior at Durant High School. She has been part of journalism since her freshman year, involved in both the yearbook and newspaper...

In Focus: Gage Young

While entering the final inning of his high school education, Gage Young now must consider the opportunities he may encounter in a new ball field. Due to his diligent and consistent hard work completed in high school Young will find little difficulty in his transition to higher education, on this new field.

Before anything else Young is a baseball player, his coaches and experiences playing baseball have shaped him into the person he is today. Young’s future and past is filled with baseball and he finds it difficult to imagine a life without it. After graduation, he hopes to play baseball for as long as circumstances allow.

Young’s successful 15-year baseball career thus far has entailed- a near entry into the little league world series, a placing of twelfth out of 104 teams in Cooperstown, a district title his freshman year, and several district appearances.

Young describes one of his most memorable high school experiences as, “Wining the district title freshman year, seeing all of my brother excited and excelling in something they love to do is very heartwarming.”

Young is thankful for every baseball coach and teacher who has impacted his life but a few such as Coach Smitty [Mr. Smith] and Tony Saladino have had influences on his life that he will not forget.

About Tony Saladino, Young said, “He has coached me from the time that I was seven and during that time has helped me to become the person and baseball player that I am today.”

Coach Smitty though, being Young’s Criminal justice teacher has opened life opportunities for him. After completing Criminal Justice this year, Young will received his unarmed Security guard license, which, he says, is one step towards a possible career in law enforcement.

Young explained that his parents have been his biggest support throughout high school; they are persistent in motivating him to keep his grades up, staying involved in clubs such as National Honor Society, Student Government Association, and Students All Connected.

In alignment with Youngs accomplishments in baseball, his academic career has been above average- he has taken AP and honors classes which help to bring his weighted GPA up to a 5.1 and he scored an 1100 on his SAT.

After high school, Young plans to attend Palm Beach State College where he will play baseball for two years before he transfers to a four-year college.

Durant High School Goes on Lock-down after Threat to Campus


DHS Facebook page

Durant High School’s campus

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. – After the recent arrest of a student at Plant City High School for bringing a loaded gun in his backpack, a 16-year-old student from Durant High School reported seeing a gun on Durant’s campus. However, during a lock-down of the school, the student called back his claim, and the information he gave turned out to be falsified. The Durant student was arrested and charged for his false report of a gun and his disruption of the school’s function.

On Thursday, Jan. 25, Durant High School experienced a school lockdown during 3rd period in response to the report. The lockdown itself lasted for roughly four hours. During the lockdown, students were kept within their third period classrooms to wait for further instruction by their teachers.

As soon as the threat was made towards Durant, the Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies took action and encompassed the school’s entire campus, on watch for any suspicion of a gun in response to the information that was later proven fabricated.

Although the situation was stressful, many students on campus found the situation to be handled efficiently.

Durant senior Eric Collins safely spent the hours of the lockdown in his classroom. He explained that the situation was handled very well by the County sheriffs.

“(The deputies) set up the metal detectors quickly and they got everyone through the process relatively easily,” Collins stated.

During the school-wide lockdown, the Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies searched the entire campus with metal detectors. They proceeded to check every student locker for the presence of a weapon; however, no weapon was found. The search was called off once it was proven that the report of a weapon on campus was false.

Durant senior Brandon Cessna also felt very safe with the security that was in place.

“We went through the metal detectors and then were guided into the gym to wait for instructions,” Cessna explained.

Not every student felt that the situation was handled well, however. Some students spent hours in their classrooms with no reprieve—even going to the bathrooms was not allowed. It was difficult for information to flow to all the classrooms during such a stressful time.

Even though the report of a weapon was concluded to be false, the systematic measures of security kept Durant safe.

Durant High School teacher Mike Stone watched over his third period class before Stone and his class were escorted to the gym. From the gym, Stone was in charge of directing students into the stands, while simultaneously being available to answer questions from students.

While the security was structured in a systematic way that was able to accommodate the school in an unfamiliar situation, there were ways in which it could have improved.

“As someone who was helping to implement the plan, I would’ve liked to have had greater communication with those who were making the calls,” Stone explained.

Many teachers agreed that there needs to be more communication in the event of a similar emergency in the future.

Despite teacher suggestions for similar situations that might arise in the future, Stone added that he felt very encouraged that what happened was handled so well at Durant.

“I found it comforting that if the situation had been worse, we would have been okay,” added Stone.

Students agreed that they felt safe on campus, despite the threat.

Even though the lockdown was caused because of a falsified student report, the event ended peacefully with no harm to students, faculty or staff.

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