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ATHLETE OF THE WEEK

December 28, 1989|STEVE HENSON

Although Billy Hunter didn't need the constant affirmation of his ability, he'll take it just the same.

On the heels of earning most valuable wrestler awards at tournaments in Newbury Park and Rosemead, Hunter turned a mat trick--winning his third most valuable wrestler award last week at the Gold Coast Classic in Oxnard.

Hunter, a senior from Westlake High, pinned all three of his opponents in the 175-pound weight division to improve his record to 13-0.

All this most valuable stuff is something Hunter is accustomed to. His value to the Westlake wrestling team had been established long before this season. Hunter has been a force since his freshman season and last year he placed second in the state in the 165-pound division.

Moving up one weight division has not decreased his effectiveness. In fact, Hunter's reputation as a wrestler with all the right moves is spreading to college recruiters, most of whom don't make a habit of canvassing Ventura County.

"Hunter is the finest individual wrestler in the county. A lot of Division I schools are watching him, and that's extremely unusual. I can't remember the last time it happened," said Todd Stoke, the coach at Rio Mesa High.

The recruiters, like the officials who dole out awards at tournaments, must know value when they see it.

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