Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

Hornet wrestlers geared up for postseason

Another stellar season is in the record books for the Harvard High School wrestling team. The Hornets finished the regular season 24-1, wrapping up the Big Northern Conference title Jan. 26 with a 30-29 victory over Richmond-Burton and then defeating Granite City 42-28 Jan. 27. The match against Granite City pitted the two winningest teams in Illinois history – Granite City with 1383 and Harvard with 952.

Head coach Tim Haak said he is pleased with how his team improved throughout the year and believes they are poised to have success.

“We’ve come a long way, and we keep progressing,” Haak said. “We’ve got some kids banged up, and we’re getting them back. We’ve had to have several different lineups throughout the year, and we’ve survived those. Now we have a chance to have success down the stretch.”

The Hornets are ranked third in Class 3A by the Illinois Matmen (www.illinoismatmen.com) with several wrestlers ranked in the top ten — sophomore Anthony Luis third (106 pounds), junior Chance Shelton fourth (120), senior Brad Lovell 10th (152), senior Dan Stott first (170), senior Nathan Cowan fourth (182) and senior Cody Melson sixth (195).

One of the keys to the Hornets’ success, according to Haak, is they are always working to get better.

“There is never a day that we go into the practice room that we don’t have something to work on,” Haak said. “We want to take things from the practice room and incorporate them on the mat.”

The Hornets will host the IHSA Class 1A regional tournament Feb. 4. They have won 26 consecutive regional tournaments and are looking to continue that streak and hopefully return to the state tournament for the first time since they finished third in 2000.

Haak said he wants his team to continue on the same path into the postseason and only worry about the next match. “I want us to stay right with our philosophy,” Haak said. “I want us on the attack. I want us aggressive. I want us wearing people down. I want us using our conditioning to be successful in matches.

“We’ll go into this tournament like we have all our other tournaments. Our first goal is to get to semis; once semis then finals; once finals then get to brackets. Don’t be a bracket watcher. Your focus is the match in front of you.”

“Obviously, they know we have won 26 consecutive regionals,” Haak continued. “But we don’t spend a lot of time talking about it. Our goal is to prepare for it and our philosophy is the end result will take care of itself.”