Coaches name Camacho state’s ‘Male Athlete of the Year’

Wins first national title for DHS


Katie Walsh

Jakob Camacho signs his National Letter of Intent to North Carolina State University alongside Coach Ricky Shook and Mom Estela Camacho

Hisham Rushaidat, Sports Editor

Ricky Shook saw something special in Jakob Camacho when the star wrestler was just in elementary school.

“Jakob [is] the hardest worker we have ever had,” said Shook, head coach of DHS wrestling team. “It started in 4th or 5th grade when I saw him running hills.”

All of that hard work has paid off with the recent announcement that Camacho, now a senior, has been named Connecticut High School Coaches Association “Male Athlete of the Year.” The awards ceremony will be Nov 16 at the Aqua Turf.

“It is truly an honor,” said Camacho, who last weekend became the first DHS wrestler in the school’s history to win a national championship when he competed in the Super 32 Wrestling Tournament in Greensboro, N.C. It was also the first time a Connecticut wrestler won the Super 32 title.

“I am happy to receive [the Male Athlete of the Year award] because it means my hard work and sacrifice is starting to pay off,” he continued, “and it shows me that good outcomes will come of my hard work and determination to succeed. I appreciate everyone and everything that was done to help me achieve this prestigious award.”

Jakob [is] the hardest worker we have ever had. It started in 4th or 5th grade when I saw him running hills.”

— Coach Randy Shook

Sophomore Ryan Jack, who has known Camacho since third grade, said that “he’s very dedicated,” which inspires the rest of the team to get better.

Camacho’s success this year includes helping lead Danbury to its first New England title in 27 years. He has also greatly contributed to the Hatters’ State Open win, the Class LL state title win and the FCIAC championship win.

Jack said he believes a huge part of their success is because of Camacho: “We have such great success as a team because he has a great attitude and wants to get everyone better.”

Shook is honored to have Camacho on his team “It’s been great [working with Camacho]. We finally won New England Championship with him and the terrific group around him.”

Leadership is an important quality Camacho adds to the team. Shook said “he is the leader of our team everyone follows and does whatever he does.”

Shook explained that Camacho has the “dedication [it takes] to be the best. Jakob wrestles all year round and aspires to become a national champion.  From the beginning of practice until the end, he is very motivated. He is there to get better everyday.”

Jack said working with Camacho is beneficial because it helps improve his own performance. Jack also added that “during competitions, he is a different person. He just goes out there and does what he needs to do.”  He sees Camacho accomplishing all his goals this year, including “getting better in the wrestling room.”

 Entering his final year as a Hatter,  Camacho expects the team to accomplish great things. “I expect nothing but success from myself and everyone else on our team, “I have high expectations because I know what we are capable of and what we go through day in and day out.”

Shook’s goal for this season would be to win the FCIAC, States and the New Englands. However, “the ultimate goal would be a national championship.”  

Camacho has committed to North Carolina State University in Raleigh, where DHS alum and wrestling great Kevin Jack continues to be successful on the mat. “[NC State] felt like home, and the coaching staff is amazing. I know it is the best place for me to achieve my academic and athletic goals.”

He has set his goal to pursue wrestling for some time after college, to try and hopefully make Olympic and World teams.  

 “The sport means everything to me.” Camacho stated. “It has taught me so many lessons that I apply to my daily life, I give everything I have to the sport to succeed and in return, wrestling has provided me with a strong platform and outlook on life.”