BRITT | Hunter Hagen didn't realize he was close to breaking the West Hancock record for career wrestling wins until his coach, Mark Sanger, started talking about it at the beginning of this season.

"He said I would make it eventually," the senior said. 

But Hagen didn't expect it to happen in early January. 

Hagen broke the record on Jan. 6 in a dual tournament at St. Edmond.

Michael Tlach set the previous record at 139 in 2009. 

Hagen was tied with Tlach coming into the dual tournament, and a 5-0 day propelled him to the top with 144.

Sanger wasn't surprised that Hagen broke the record at that point in the season. 

"There's a lot of matches wrestled right now," he said.

He also noted Hagen had an unusual amount of wins early on in his career. 

Those early wins are even more impressive when you consider he wrestled at 170 poumds as a freshman, which meant a lot of his opponents were seniors, according to Sanger. 

"He likes to win. He likes to compete. He likes to work hard," he said.

Hagen, who now wrestles at 190 pounds, "puts a lot of pressure on himself," Sanger added. 

He said things like breaking the school's win record are nice, "but he has a bigger goal in mind."

That goal is becoming a state champion, something Hagen was close to achieving in the past. 

The last Eagle wrestler to win a state championship was Sanger in 2001.

Hagen said he also wants to "open up" in more matches and score some points rather than wrestling more defensively. 

Hagen had a 28-0 record for the season going into a Jan. 13 tournament at Estherville. 

He said remaining undefeated will be a challenge. 

Hagen will face Gabe Irons of Lake Mills, who he said came the closest to beating him so far this year, during a tournament at North Butler on Jan. 20, as well as the conference tournament on Jan. 27 and sectionals on Feb. 3.