Wrestling: Fleming sets sights on New Englands

FS-SPTS-SWC-Hakim-Fleming

Notre Dame of Fairfield’s Hakim Fleming. — File photo

Notre Dame of Fairfield senior grappler Hakim Fleming has achieved more in his short time on the mat than most wrestlers do in their entire scholastic careers.

Last Saturday, in the finals of the State Open at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven, it was a short-time escape by top-seeded Luke Edmondson of Foran High that prevented the second-seeded Fleming from winning the State Open crown at 285 pounds in just his second year of competition.

Fleming took the 2-1 setback to Edmondson in stride.

“There was nothing I can do about it, I just have to move onto next week,” the Lancer senior said.

Instead of dwelling on the loss, Fleming (46-4 record) set his sights on the New England Championships this weekend at the Providence Career and Technical Center in Rhode Island.

In his first match, he will face the second seed from Maine — Deering’s Michael Darling.

And if history is any indicator, expect Fleming to be on the podium at the tournament’s conclusion.

After winning the South-West Conference title at 285, for the second year in a row, with a fall over New Fairfield’s Russell Howard in 2:43, Fleming defended his Class S crown with a 3-2 triple overtime victory over Josh Angel of Killingly.

In 2015, Fleming placed fourth at the State Open, despite being on the smaller side for a heavyweight, before capturing the silver medal this time around.

“They have their power, I use my athleticism,” Fleming said.

His speed and power mix also helped him finish sixth at the Eastern State Classic in January, facing some of the top wrestlers in the country.

Racking up 85 victories, as well as a slew of medals, in his two years of wrestling, Fleming has proven to be natural on the mat.

“It was a great experience, I’m happy I decided to wrestle last year,” he said.

The New England championships are set to begin on Friday.

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