Consistency was a hallmark of Hunter Burnette’s career on the mat with the Gordon Lee Trojans and, today, the senior caps his four-year stint with the Navy-and-White by being named as the 2019-20 Walker County Wrestler of the Year.
Burnette made an immediate impact on the Trojan program from the outset. Wrestling at 106 pounds as a freshman, he won an area championship and finished second at the state sectional tournament before going on to place fourth in the GHSA Class A state tournament later that season.
The following year, he helped Gordon Lee advance to the Class A State Duals in Macon for the first time since the 2013-14 campaign before turning his attention to the traditional tournaments. He won a second straight area title at 106 pounds and went on to finish second at both the sectional and the state tournament.
As a junior, he began the year once again wrestling at 106 and picked up victories at the Ooltewah and Chattanooga Christian Invitationals, while adding a runner-up finish at the Murray County Invitational. Moving up a weight class (113) for the area tournament, Burnette again finished first and took third place at both sectionals and state.
He closed out a 162-win career this past season by becoming a four-time area champion, winning at 113 for the second consecutive year. He made the championship semifinals at sectionals and at state, ultimately placing third at sectionals and fifth at state. His final high school match was a 3-2 victory over Irwin County’s Jordan Dunlap.
He also wrestled at 120 earlier in his senior season, finishing runner-up at both the Knox Catholic and Chattanooga Christian Invitationals and had a 35-8 record for the year.
“Hunter missed a few tournaments there in the middle of the year or he’d been right at 50 wins this year,” Gordon Lee head coach Jason Mull said of the four-time Catoosa-Walker Dream Team first team selection. “Hunter has been one of those guys that, when you send him out on the mat, you feel good about his chances of winning.
“Even when he may have been wrestling a better wrestler, he’d come out on top a lot of times because he did a great job of keeping himself in matches...he was looking to pin and was very confident.”
Mull added that Burnette was tough to beat from the top position, adding that he wrestled well on his feet. But the coach said that his favorite quality of Burnette is that he is “a likable, good-hearted kid.”
“Everybody knew Hunter,” Mull said. “He was always talking to somebody, whether it was other coaches, referees or wrestlers. He’s just that kind of kid. It won’t be the same not having him around.”