DILLON — When Cooper Hoffman was asked his goal for this past Saturday’s Western A divisional wrestling tournament, he said that he was just really going to go out there, dominate his opponents, and show them who he really is right now.
Hoffman’s confidence is through the roof, and for good reasons. At last weekend’s tournament in Butte, Hoffman dominated the 160-pound class all the way to the finals, where he faced off with another great wrestler, Stevensville’s Kyler Pancake. After a grueling three rounds, it was Hoffman who would come out with the pin late in the match, securing a No. 1 seed at the state tournament. If being a No. 1 seed wasn’t enough motivation, he has some unfinished business to settle at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark in Billings.
“Definitely losing in overtime for third and fourth last year and just the fire and hunger,” Hoffman said. “I knew I could be a state champion this year if I worked hard at it. Just been going in making sure that’s my goal, make sure I do everything I can to accomplish it.”
All the hard work and extra hours Hoffman has put in since that tough overtime loss in last year’s state tournament has him ready to be competing for the state crown.
“I think I should be 100 percent able to accomplish it, especially because I feel I’ve been working as hard as I need to, and I’m going to be working harder for that,” he said.
After this weekend, Hoffman could be the Class A 160-pound wrestling champion — the ultimate accomplishment in his storied high school career. When it comes time for the offseason, he’ll be taking a step back from the mats and enjoying all that Montana has to offer.
Hoffman said he plans to just ski, fish and hunt.