Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

Peterson wins IESA title

Harvard School District 50 has always been known for their incredible wrestling program that has produced some of the best in the state from Dan Haeflinger to Dan Stott. Less the one month after Stott won the latest IHSA state wrestling championship for the Hornets, eighth grader John Peterson has added his name to the list of decorated wrestlers by winning the Illinois Elementary School Association wrestling title at 119 pounds March 10 at Northern Illinois University.

Peterson’s trip to the state title started at an early age.

“I have been wrestling for 10 years straight; I’ve had a lot of family members who had wrestled when they were in school, so it just came naturally,” Peterson said.

Wrestling is a family affair for Peterson and so are trips to state tournaments. Peterson’s father, Rick, finished second in state in high school and his Uncle Kelly Peterson placed third in state in high school. Peterson’s brother Jake also wrestled.

Surprisingly, however, Peterson has another wrestler he looks up to.

“My mentor is Dan Gable [Olympic gold medal winner in 1972 in Munich, Germany]. I haven’t personally met him, but he came up to Harvard and spoke about his wrestling experience.”

Peterson had been to the state tournament the previous two years and had finished in third place at a lower weight class the previous year. This time, he was confident he would win.

“I was confident in myself, and I knew that I could win,” Peterson said. “After I won, I was just thinking about how much hard work I had put in this year, and how it had paid off.”

Junior High Wrestling Head Coach David Schultz said Peterson used his head to win the championship.

“He wrestled smart matches throughout the tournament, especially in the semi-finals,” Schultz said.

Peterson plans to continue wrestling in high school in hopes of being the next Hornet IHSA champion.

Schultz said Peterson can have a very successful wrestling career in high school.

“I think he’s going to go as far as he takes himself,” Schultz said. “If he continues to work as hard as he has in the past, he should be successful.”