In Hayes’ case, it certainly has.
Wrestling at 133 pounds in the NCAA Championships last Friday night, the redshirt senior pinned his opponent from California State University-Bakersfield to clinch All-America honors. He went on to place eighth in his weight class.
“It was such a good feeling,” Hayes said. “All-American was so much better than anything I would have thought. Just that feeling of finally accomplishing it and seeing the work pay off – it was surreal and by far the greatest memory from my college wrestling career.”
Hayes’ academic highlights haven’t been too shabby, either.
For the last three years, Hayes has been a member of the ACC Wrestling All-Academic Team and ACC Academic Honor Roll. Last year, he was named an NWCA Scholar All-American.
“I think the biggest thing is that I’ve learned how to learn,” said Hayes, who earned his bachelor’s degree in media studies in 2020 while minoring in entrepreneurship. “I’ve learned how to look at something, read about it and break it down – to be curious about why X, Y and Z are happening.”
This year, Hayes has been pursuing a master’s degree from UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce – and making quite a name for himself in the process, according to Garland.