Homegrown athlete making big moves

Fresno State wrestler Josh Hokit during a home match at the Save Mart Center. Jose Romo Jr./Collegian.

Homegrown star Josh Hokit, a two-sport athlete in wrestling and football, has been waiting for his time to shine. That wait is over.

Growing up in Wasco, California, Hokit and his family moved to Clovis, California because the wrestling program there was one of the best in the nation.

His wrestling abilities made him one of the best wrestlers in the state, garnering him considerable attention from collegiate wrestling programs.

The Fresno State junior and Clovis High School graduate had always been a fan of the Bulldogs, but his college path appeared to be leading him to Drexel University, where his older brother Isaiah was already part of the wrestling team.

While deciding where to attend college, there was a rumor that the Fresno State wrestling team was coming back. Hokit decided to not attend Drexel, opting to walk on with the Bulldogs football team.

“Something was telling me to stay at Fresno State and walk on to the football team,” Hokit said. “Then they brought back the wrestling team and I decided to do both.”

One of the biggest benefits of being at Fresno State, Hokit said, is that he is close to his family and friends.

Hokit realized when his brother was away at Drexel, he would only come home once or twice a year, which was all the more reason for him to stay close to home at Fresno State.

After walking-on and making the football team as a backup running back his freshman year, Hokit joined the wrestling team the next fall as a sophomore.

Being part of both the football and wrestling teams hasn’t been easy for Hokit. It takes a lot of work to be on both teams and there is little time off, Hokit said. However, he enjoys the challenge and the competition that being a two-sport college athlete brings.

“I enjoy competing and [playing multiple sports] is something I’ve been doing all my life. So why stop in college?” Hokit said.

The Bulldogs football team had a fantastic season, setting a 12-win record, and Hokit was an integral part of the team that won the Mountain West championship and the Las Vegas Bowl.

Playing in the postseason for the football team meant that Hokit would miss the first few months of the wrestling season, including meets against Stanford University and the University of Minnesota.

However, Hokit was able to solidify his position on the wrestling team, quickly becoming one of the best 197-pound wrestlers in the nation. Currently he is ranked No. 14 in Division I for the 197-pound weight class.

“If you look at last season and this season it’s like night and day,” Hokit said. “We are better than last year and that’s what it’s all about, always improving year after year.”

When asked about which of the two sports he liked best, Hokit had a hard time answering. He said that each has its good and bad aspects, and that he couldn’t really choose one sport over the other.

He did, however, say that he enjoys his time during football season more, because they provide different types of foods and treat the players well everywhere they go. He also added that he enjoyed not having to cut weight during football.

Hokit said that wrestling’s mental aspect has been a real challenge for him.

“Coming from high school and being the top guy, not many people give you a tough match,” Hokit said. “And in college, every match is a fight for seven minutes.”

He also said that his biggest challenge is that in Division I wrestling, everyone is strong, physical and ready to wrestle for the entire match.

Hokit is no stranger to popularity.

After his sophomore football season, he was already being recognized all over Fresno State campus. However, he tries to stay modest and not let his popularity go to his head.

“I never let myself get too big headed. I stay the same,” Hokit said. “I know what needs to be done and the hard work needed to be successful.”

Hokit is currently pursuing a degree in political science, but he is unsure on what he will do once he graduates.

He doesn’t seem to be too preoccupied with the future. Instead, Hokit seems to be enjoying every minute of his collegiate career.

“I want to look back and say I gave it my all, that I did everything in my power to try and accomplish my goals,” Hokit said. “In wrestling, I am trying to be the national champion. I don’t care how impossible that may sound. I believe I can and that’s truly all that matters. You have to reach for the highest, you can never sell yourself short.”

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