WINTERVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - South Central senior state champion heavyweight wrestler George Ayino is our newest WITN Pepsi Player of the Week!
"He told me at the beginning of the season this year he was going to do it," South Central head wrestling coach Justin Harrell said.
"I just know that if I say I'm going to do something, I'm going to try my best to do it," George Ayino said.
Ever since placing sixth at states last year, George Ayino has had his eyes on the prize.
"Everybody says they're going to be a state champion, but I think he honestly believed it," Harrell added.
"I wanted to win real bad and that's what I did," Ayino said.
He believed it, and he did it.
"At first it was hard to believe, but I was really excited and happy," said Ayino. "I worked real hard for that moment, and it just made me proud that I achieved what I wanted."
"I couldn't believe it," added Harrell. "I was just so happy because it couldn't happen to a better kid. He was well-deserved. George is well-mannered and very respectful."
And now college coaches are giving George that same respect.
"My phone has been ringing," said Harrell. "I have different schools calling me, and we talked to this college coach and he said, 'This kid can be a national champ as a heavyweight.'"
Ayino finished the season with an impressive 57-5 record, and he knows his hard work will help bolster this program.
"I did a lot for this school winning that state title," said Ayino. "I feel like I made a lot of people proud."
"I think it's going to open doors for the program," Harrell added.
Now Ayino is also a standout on the football field, and he says he hopes to play both sports in college.
"It's all what he wants to do, but I feel like he can go to college and wrestle and become a national champ," Harrell said.
For more on Ayino, check out the video above! (Feature airs Tuesday during WITN Sports at 6:20 p.m.)
NOTE: If you have a student-athlete or athlete that you would like to nominate as a WITN Pepsi Player of the Week, please email a bio to Tyler Feldman at firstname.lastname@example.org.