OHS Malyke Hines

Osceola’s Malyke Hines, shown earning a pin in February’s state duals tournament, closed out a very impressive high school season this year by repeating as FHSAA state and NHSCA national champion.

All-County wrestling

Wrestler of the Year: Malyke Hines (OHS, Sr)

All-County team: Liberty: Will Valach. Celebration: Keyshawn Peterson, Alfonso Serrano. Osceola: Zayveon Mitchell, Jaekus Hines, Adriel Martinez, Chase Fuller, Nolin Eaddy, Dylan Ruiz. Harmony: Aiden Poe, Dylan Jones, Melvin Ewen. St. Cloud: Wilfredo Martinez. Gateway: Jared Colon, Kyjuan Allen. Poinciana: Quaylen Hill.

It seems almost an understatement to call Malyke Hines the Osceola News-Gazette Boys Wrestler of the Year, a title he’s now won three years running.

It’s partly because the numbers he’s compiled and accolades racked up boggle the mind:

Three state titles and two national high school championships. A 223-5 career high-school record, including 98-1 the last two years, and a 48-0 record as a senior that ended with a 1-0 win for a third state title in a 1-0 match against South Dade’s Joshua Swan that was more about an opponent avoiding actually wrestling Hines and waiting — in vain — for him to make a mistake. This isn’t a Player of the Year award story. It’s a career achievement award story.

OBC banquet OHS winners

Hines (center) appears with Osceola wrestling coach Jim Bird and principal Nia Campbell at Wednesday’s Orange Belt Conference athletic banquet.

Leaving high school and preparing for the next stage, a college career at NCAA wrestling power Lehigh (Pa.) University is just a stopping point to reflect on everything that’s been earned.

“Yes, we’re turning the page, but we’re writing the same book,” Hines said.

While he entered the last few entries into the high school part of it — he hasn’t lost to a Florida opponent in two years — he didn’t lose focus. While he was clearly the best wrestler on the mat for much of his career, he worked to prove it each match, not just win each match.

“I always knew what I was capable of, and wanted to prove it and dominate each match,” Hines said. “Plus this year I really wanted to help Jaekus (his sophomore brother, a two-time state runner-up) win this year, that’s been a focus, too.”

Osceola wrestling coach Jim Bird said Hines has a common thread of other champions — being better today than he was yesterday, and being even better tomorrow — and should be able to excel when he arrives at Lehigh.

“Once you’ve won everything he has it’s easy to get lackadaisical, but he’s still training even harder,” Bird said. “What’s impressive about him is the fact that he is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever coached. Throughout his career it’s always been about getting better.

“His goals each year has been to win a state title, a national title. He’s done that and he’s still working with us training really hard. He’s still writing down new things he learns. He just keeps trying to get better, to do what the best in the country do. Going to Lehigh will be tough challenge and it’ll be all he can handle, but that’s when he’s at his best.”