Jared Haught did things his way

From his humble beginnings in Calhoun County to Parkersburg High School and then being a three-time All-American wrestler at Virginia Tech, Jared Haught was without question the epitome of what a student-athlete is all about.

Relegated to third string once upon a time as a freshman for the Hokies, Haught never thought about giving up, just what he needed to do on a daily basis to get better.

An unquestionable work ethic not only led to him being the first native West Virginian to ever wrestle for an NCAA Division I championship, but it also more than helped in his pursuit of a mechanical engineering degree. In fact, the former prep state mat champ for both the Red Devils and the Big Reds was a four-time all-Atlantic Coast Conference academic honoree.

Earlier this spring, Haught got married and is now working as a shift supervisor at the Corning plant in Christiansburg.

“I help resolve problems throughout the plant,” said Haught, who was just the fourth Hokie to ever earn All-American honors thrice. “Anything that comes up, communicate the problem and if I can’t fix it, get somebody there that can.”

Aside from his job and marriage life, Haught is currently a volunteer at the Southeast Regional Training Center in Blacksburg.

“I like it down here and I volunteer so I can keep wrestling and help out there. We got a couple guys on the world team,” Haught said, noting he’s been mixing it up some with ex-Hokie Ty Walz, a three-time All-American who will represent the United States at 97kg on this year’s senior men’s freestyle national team.

Haught made it clear that he’s finished with competitive wrestling, but at the same time he can’t say enough about how the sport shaped his life.

Despite having to settle for a national runner-up effort at 197 pounds this year in his final NCAA tournament appearance, Haught expressed “I can look back and know that I did everything I could.

“I never partied. I never drank. I thought that it would hold me back. I wasn’t the most athletic person in the country, but I knew I had one of the best work ethics and that can get you really far. I think I proved that to some of the guys on the team and other kids kind of know where I’m coming from.”

Having been through the ups and downs of college life, especially being in a demanding sport such as wrestling, I asked Haught what he would stress to younger grapplers.

“First thing is just being focused and you got to know your goal,” he said. “Don’t be scared to set your goal like as high as you can, but also if you set that goal you have to stay focused and actually want to achieve it.

“If you don’t know how to reach that goal then contact someone that’s done it, whether that’s a coach who has had success or somebody who has done it before. What it comes down to is a decision you have to make and after you make that decision you have to go after it wholeheartedly and see where the cards lay in the end.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com