Since that time, Cloer has worked to become one of the top wrestlers in the state. After qualifying for the state tournament his freshman, sophomore and junior seasons, Hobbs and the LHS coaches believe Cloer has a legitimate chance of winning it all in 2003.
"We believe this could be Derren's year," Hobbs said. "If he continues to work, he can be right there."
Cloer has compiled a 31-1 record this season for the Mat Devils. He has won several tournaments in 2002-03 and, according to his coach, defines what a successful high school athlete is.
"It's amazing to watch him compete," Hobbs said. "He worked as hard in the offseason as anyone. He is dedicated. That work is paying off for him."
"I just love wrestling," Cloer said. "There's nothing like the one-on-one competition. There's no greater feeling than winning the battle of a wrestling match and knowing that you have given everything you have to give."
Cloer was undefeated until the finals of the recent Social Circle High School Redskin Rumble. Cloer lost 5-2 to Morgan County's Dusty Sidwell in the finals in Social Circle. Sidwell led 3-2 late in the match and Cloer gambled trying to make up the points. Sidwell was able to counter and added two points to his total.
Cloer had defeated Sidwell earlier this season in the finals of Morgan County's tournament in December.
"I don't think the loss will bother Derren too much," Hobbs said. "He is the type of competitor who will use that match and get better. He will bounce back."
Cloer, in fact, bounced back three days later and won both of his matches against county rivals Social Circle and Monroe Area.
While many predict Cloer to be among the favorites at the upcoming state tournament, the LHS senior is not making any bold predictions.
"I will just do my best and see where it gets me," he said.