His wife, Rachel, was in physical therapy school and had to stay in Norman.
“It didn't bug me at the time,” said Hazewinkel, who'd been married less than a year when he left for Colorado Springs. “I didn't see it as hard.”
But it was.
“Those things, they wear on you even if you don't notice it at the time.”
Hazewinkel made it all the way to the finals at the Olympic trials, surviving a gauntlet of matches and earning a spot in the best-of-three series, but then, he dropped two matches by decision in the finals.
It was the ultimate oh-so-close moment.
“It hurt to get all the way to the finals, to be that close and come up short,” he said, “but I learned a lot from it.”
Primary among those lessons — he wasn't about to spend another year in Colorado Springs away from his wife.
He returned to Norman the day after the trials, and eventually, he switched back to freestyle wrestling. He feels like the decision to be around family and friends has given him a better frame of mind.
Who knows what edge that might give him?
“I was confident last Olympics,” Hazewinkel said. “I just feel like I've got my head on a lot better, and I'm ready for whatever they throw at me.”
MORE FROM NEWSOK
2012 U.S. OLYMPIC WRESTING TRIALS
When: Saturday and Sunday
Where: Iowa City, Iowa
LOCALS AT THE TRIALS
The state of Oklahoma will be well-represented at the U.S. Olympic wrestling trials this weekend in Iowa City, Iowa. Here's a look at the 20 wrestlers with ties to the state:
Name, Division, Weight Class: State Tie
Zack Bailey, freestyle, 66 kg: Wrestled at Oklahoma 2006-11
Obe Blanc, freestyle, 55 kg: Wrestled at Oklahoma State 2008-09 and now lives in Stillwater
Tyler Caldwell, freestyle, 74 kg: Wrestled at OU 2009-11
Kristie Davis, women, 72 kg: Wrestles at Oklahoma City University and lives in Yukon
Brittany Delgado, women, 72 kg: Wrestles at OCU
Jared Frayer, freestyle, 66 kg: Wrestled at OU 1997-2002 and now lives in Norman
Kristie Garr, women, 48 kg: Wrestles at OCU
Stephanie Geltmacher, women, 63 kg: Wrestles at OCU
Bryce Hasseman, freestyle, 84 kg: Lives in Stillwater
Sam Hazewinkel, Greco-Roman, 55 kg: Wrestled at OU 2002-07 and now lives in Norman
Ashley Hudson, women, 55 kg: Wrestled at OCU 2007-11
Michaela Hutchison, women, 55 kg: Wrestles at OCU
Andre Metzger, Greco-Roman, 74 kg: Wrestled at OU 1978-82 and now lives in Norman
Joey Miller, women, 48 kg: Wrestled at Woodward High 2004-08 and now wrestles at OCU
Steve Mocco, freestyle, 120 kg: Wrestled at OSU 2004-06
Audrey Morehouse, women, 63 kg: Wrestles at OCU
Jordan Oliver, freestyle, 60 kg: Wrestles at OSU
Jennifer Page, women, 63 kg: Wrestles at OCU
Chris Pendleton, freestyle, 96 kg: Wrestled at OSU 2000-04
Brittney Roberts, women, 72 kg: Wrestles at OCU
Coleman Scott, freestyle, 60 kg: Wrestled at OSU 2004-08 and now lives in Stillwater
Teyon Ware, freestyle, 66 kg: Wrestled at Edmond North High 1998-2002 and OU 2002-06
Emily Webster, women, 48 kg: Wrestles at OCU
Nicole Woody, women, 48 kg: Wrestled at OCU 2007-11