Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

Luis wins IHSA State title

Harvard High School wrestler Anthony Luis won the championship of the106-pound weight class at the IHSA Class A state tournament Feb. 16. HML PHOTO BY NEIL SCHULTZ

The summer between eighth grade and high school, Anthony Luis had a message for Harvard High School wrestling head coach Tim Haak.

“[Anthony] told me he probably wasn’t going to wrestle in high school,” Haak said. “He didn’t think he was very good.”

It’s a good thing Luis didn’t listen to himself because, less than three years later, he proved himself wrong and won the 106-pound weight class at the IHSA Class A wrestling championship, becoming the 13th individual state wrestling champion for Harvard High School.

“It’s a tremendous accomplishment,” Haak said. “He had some tough matches. He beat four ranked kids. I’m just happy to see him progress and have the season he hoped he would have.”

Luis, a junior, placed fourth in state in 2012 and came into the state tournament ranked second in his weight class by Illinois Matmen behind Cody Minnick of Coal City.

Luis won his first match Feb. 14 by fall (1:43); on Feb. 15 Luis won by decision 4-1 in the quarterfinals and 5-3 in the semifinals, scoring the winning points with two seconds left in the match.

Luis and Minnick matched up in the finals. Luis defeated Minnick last year at state by a point but had been concerned with him this year ever since the Princeton tournament where he placed third and Minnick finished first. Minnick entered the finals undefeated at 47-0.

Record notwithstanding, Luis made easy work of Minnick to claim the championship.

“He controlled the match from the opening whistle,” Haak said of Luis who won the championship match 11-3. “It was amazing,” Luis said. “I didn’t think about [winning] when I went to the mats. I just went in listening to coach Haak and what he wanted me to do.”

Luis, who finished the season 41-6, credited his best friend Mark Struck with helping to motivate him this season. “Mark and I are best friends,” Luis said. “Back in eighth grade we didn’t think we would be that great. This year he drove me to win.”

With the season now over, Luis said he has mixed emotions.

“The best thing about the season being over is being able to eat whatever I want,” Luis said. “The worst is losing [seniors] Chance [Shelton], Irvin [Pena] and Travis [Heck].”