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KNIGHTDALE - Knightdale High School wrestler Jayden Adams won the Heart of a Champion award April 1, an achievement fit for student athletes who demonstrate outstanding sportsmanship in both sports and academics.
A total of 35 student-athletes from North Carolina High School Athletic Association member schools will be honored for their outstanding sportsmanship as winners of the Heart of a Champion Award recognition.
The sportsmanship recognition is part of the program offered by the NCHSAA Student Services Division.
"My parents gave me the newsletter after it came in the mail," Adams said. "I was shocked and speechless. I didn't think I was going to win. I was really thrilled. It means a lot to me. I've been showing good character all throughout my life. It's nice to be recognized at this big of a level."
Adams is a senior at Knightdale who has wrestled at the 113-pound weight class for all four years. This past season, he finished with an overall record of 17-10 and placed sixth in the 4A east regionals.
"This year was one of my best seasons," Adams said. "I helped my teammates get to where they need to go. I really enjoyed traveling with the team one last time. I felt like I accomplished a lot over my time here. The Heart of a Champion award tops it all off."
Each of the NCHSAA member schools had the opportunity to nominate one male and one female student-athlete for the recognition.
The students must have participated in at least one varsity sport or activity, including cheerleading, during the 2019-2020 school year, have not been ejected from any contest, and must have demonstrated outstanding citizenship and sportsmanship during their high school careers.
Adams was nominated by his head coach Alex Von Hoene.
Once he graduates, Adams will attend Wingate University on an academic scholarship. He plans on majoring in sports management and have a minor in business.
As part of his goodbye message to his fellow seniors and wrestling teammates, Adams wants everyone to not take everything for granted.
"I told my teammates to stay with it and enjoy the last ride," Adams said. "You're going to miss it as soon as it's over. Leave it all on the mat. Things are going to be hard, but at the end, it will all be better for them. Stay strong and keep fighting. The good ones are going to practice every day. Wrestle like it's your last every night."