Ready for a rematch

South Carroll's Cam Hobin's fall from the top ranks lasted a season, but he has beaten his academic struggle and is on a comback



South Carroll's Cam Hobin was only 15 and already had reached the top of the high school wrestling world in Carroll County as the 2004-05 Wrestler of the Year.

He was a first-team All-Metro choice at 103 pounds and a state 2A-1A unbeaten champion as a freshman. He won 33 matches, 21 by pins.

It was a storybook beginning that soon changed.

"I'd been wrestling for 10 years and just felt like I needed a break and wanted to hang out with my friends," Hobin said. "There was too much frustration, and I just got tired of it. We had practice every day after school until March."

Hobin also burned out in the classroom and became academically ineligible for wrestling last season. He is in the process of repeating the 10th grade at South Carroll and has raised his academic average to a C.

South Carroll wrestling coach Dennis Frazier believes the academic woes could have been avoided if he had been teaching at the school instead of at Mount Airy Middle School.

"If I could monitor those kids during the day, every day, like I could if I were there, there wouldn't be a problem," Frazier said. "I don't see the kids [on the wrestling team] on a daily basis. He [Hobin] had no one to keep him straight. I have a personal interest in him and know him a little better than the other people, and I could watch him more. I could push him in the right direction."

Frazier said after he learned early in Hobin's sophomore season that he was on the verge of becoming ineligible for wrestling, he "started talking to him every night for five weeks, but I could tell he wasn't doing what he needed to do."

On the mat, Frazier said Hobin is a competitor who doesn't give up. "He will do whatever it takes to win the match," Frazier said.

Now that he's back, Frazier said it would take Hobin time to get into top form at 119 pounds after a year's layoff from full-time competition.

Hobin thought his performance in the Super 32 wrestling tournament in North Carolina at the end of October was terrible (a pin and two losses) because his knees bothered him too much.

Hobin said he has been told by his doctor that his body is growing too fast for his knees (Osgood- Schlatter condition) and he needs to do his stretching exercises more diligently before a match.

"She told me it could be a lifetime condition," he said.

Hobin also doesn't think Frazier could have saved him academically because "it was all on me."

One of Hobin's closest teammates, 112-pound sophomore Rion Reitter, doesn't agree with the theory that there was too much pressure on Hobin to succeed in wrestling and in the classroom.

"I think it makes you a better overall person learning how to deal with situations like that," Reitter said. "I think it helped him, and he's ready to come back and win states again."

Hobin said of his academic struggles: "I did all my classroom work and passed all the tests last year, but not doing my homework killed me."

Now that he is eligible to wrestle again, he called "making the grades" the proudest moment of his life.

If Hobin had an opportunity to do anything over again, he said he would do his homework. He also said he could feel the pressure building to maintain his eligibility.

"My parents kept getting on me last year about making the team," he said. "They want me to go as far as I possibly can. They want me to get a wrestling scholarship. I just got tired of it."

Kim Hobin, Cam's mother, is candid in explaining the parents' position.

"I've made it perfectly clear to him that he doesn't wrestle for me, he doesn't wrestle for his father," she said. "If you don't want to do it, then don't do it.

"You're not going to be one of those kids that Mommy and Daddy forces you out on the mat because they've got dreams of glory. If you don't want to do it, then step off the mat and you're done."

Kim Hobin continued: "I'm not into living vicariously. I love it when Cameron's able to get out there and be on top of the world. If he doesn't, he's still my son. It all could be over tomorrow.

"He could just say, `I'm sick to death of it. I don't want to wrestle another day of my life.' Or, God forbid, if he gets injured. There's plenty of athletes walking the face of the Earth who can't play anymore."

She thinks her son is one of those teenagers who needed to get lost for a while before he could find himself.

"I think he just had a time period there where he wasn't real enamored with a whole lot," she said. "He just decided, `I'm going to step out for a while. Out of the limelight. I'm going to take a small sabbatical.'"

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