LEVITTOWN - The wins that are coming now, one would think, could have been seen coming years ago.
Most top performers, regardless of sport, excelled years before they reached the high school level and wrestling is no exception.
Talk to the top wrestlers in the area and you'll find that an extremely high percentage of them hand their arm raised consistently while growing up on the mats.
Then there's the case of Harry S. Truman freshman Hayden Mann, owner, already of 18 varsity wins, at a weight class (138 pounds) that is usually not very friendly to ninth graders.
"I lost all the time when I was a kid," Mann said with a laugh. "And it wasn't just in my first year wrestling.
"I was not very good at all. I started when I was 5 years old and wasn't good. When I was in second grade, I didn't win a match. It kept going like that for a long time."
But, instead of quitting the sport, Mann stuck with it.
"My Dad kept me going," Mann said. "He wrestled for a couple of years in high school and wanted me to stick with it, so I did. It wasn't easy losing all the time, nobody likes that, but I kept going."
That perseverance finally paid off and continues to do so.
"At the end of the season in sixth grade, things started to turn around and I won some matches," Mann said. "And then in seventh grade I won most of my matches and tried to keep going from there."
Skip ahead to today and the expectations for Mann are nearly unlimited.
"Hayden, if he keeps working hard and improving, which he will, can be really good," Harry S. Truman coach Rick Voran said. "Like any wrestler, there are things that he needs to work on with his technique that will help him and he'll get there. He's in a very tough weight class for a freshman, and he knows that he needs to get stronger, but if he wrestles like he can, he has an outside shot to get to states.
"A lot of it will depend on who drops to what weight class, and how the brackets line up, usual stuff in wrestling, but Hayden can be right there in the tournaments and he's only a freshman."
Mann also has big goals and the desire to reach them.
"I've wrestled some sloppy matches, but I learned from them," Mann said. "I know that I need to get better on top and I'm trying to do that.
"I'm used to wrestling at this level and know what I need to do. My goal is to try and win them all and just do the best that I can."
The same can be said for his fall sport, football.
Mann was the rare freshman for the Tigers that saw time on varsity as a special teams contributor. But it's wrestling that sits atop the pile for him.
"I enjoy playing football and I've played it for a really long time," Mann said. "But I love wrestling the most.
"In football, if you make a mistake, it can be covered up by the other guys on the field. But, in wrestling, if you make a mistake, it's only you out there. You either have to correct the mistake or you can end up losing the match.
"You learn a lot about yourself with wrestling and that's one of the things I really enjoy about it."