CONYERS — Markis Hill almost hung his wrestling shoes up for the final time after his junior season.
A disappointing ending to the season, one that saw him lose his spot at state, sent the Rockdale County standout into a state of mind that had quitting the sport running wild. Luckily for Hill, that decision didn’t last long.
Hill returned for his senior season and it did not disappoint. A fifth-place finish at the Class AAAAAAA Traditional state tournament capped off a 41-7 season for the Bulldog. Shortly after that, Hill was approached by Emmanuel College, an NAIA program that was clamoring for his services.
“It all started at state,” Hill said. “My last match, I was wrestling against Mountain View and we were going at it. It got to the second period and I pinned him on the edge. As soon as I walked off the matt, Coach (Jake) Britt approached me, Emmanuel’s assistant coach. He asked me what I was planning on doing after high school. He told me that if I needed anything or wanted to talk about it, he’d give me his card.”
Hill spent the following month and a half reviewing his options. At that point, it was down to signing with Emmanuel, or living out his first dream of going to culinary school and opening up his own catering business.
“I’m actually certified in culinary,” Hill said. “I have my ACS certification and I had planned on going into the cooking business. I wanted to have my own catering company, but plans change.”
Also certified in graphic design and the ability to study the field at Emmanuel, Hill’s decision was made.
I didn’t hit coach Britt up until about a month and half later because I was just trying to figure where my head was at and trying to get everything straightened out. I hit him up and he talked me through the process. I applied to the college and got accepted. He talked to coach (Link) Davis and they sent me the offer. I received the letter of intent, signed it and sent it back.”
Hill said the feeling of continuing his wrestling career at the next level was taken to the next level with the support he received from friends and family.
“It was amazing,” Hill said. “A bunch of my friends wanted me to go there because they know that I have the ability and the skill level to do it. But it was just be battling with myself and seeing what I needed to do after high school. Eventually, my mom and dad talked me into it and gave me a little push to go and do it.”
Before signing, Hill and his grandfather took a visit to the Franklin Springs campus and enjoyed what they saw.
“I took a visit up there a couple of weeks ago,” Hill said.
“Iit’s a very nice campus. I liked it. We were talking to the coach about the team is and they went from having 14 on the roster to about 40 this year. THe girls year is expanding also. They were conference champs. So it’s looking really bright for the future of the team.”
After placing at state at 182 pounds, Hill said he has a couple of different options in college.
“I planned to go 174 or at least try to get close to that and see how I handle it, but I’m probably going to stick around 184,” Hill said. “And at the most, 197.”
With his high school career over at Rockdale, Hill said he never imagined that he would leave as one of the state’s top wrestlers, and as one of the top wrestlers at the school.
“I was always good, but I never thought that I would be considered one of the top wrestlers in the state,” Hill said. “In wrestling, you get ranked by being good, really good and so on. I’m probably right in the middle of those two. If you had to rank the wrestlers at Rockdale, I would go Jha’Quan, Ed Pollard, Rodney Winston and then me.”
Outside of the success he was able to have on the mat, Hill said the friendships he was able to create is what he will look back on the most from his four years as a Bulldog.
“The most impactful thing are my brothers,” Hill said. “I really got a lot of close friends out of wrestling. They’re going to friendships that I have forever. We’re going our separate ways in college, but we’ll meet back up eventually. Those are my brothers for life.”
Hill plans to major in graphic design with the hopes of becoming an All-American for Emmanuel.