Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

Stott wins at state, wrestling team’s season ends in sectionals

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The Harvard High School wrestling team sent four wrestlers to the Class A individual state tournament in Champaign Feb. 16 to 18 and had three place winners with four-time state qualifier senior Dan Stott placing first at 170 pounds. The Hornets were hoping to ride that success to state but, unfortunately, they were unable to hold the momentum and less than 72 hours later, they had lost Feb. 21 to Lena-Winslow High School 36-31 in the Oregon sectional tournament, ending their season.

“They had five state-place winners,” said HHS head coach Tim Haak. “They didn’t have any holes in their lineup. They are really solid. We were going to have to steal some matches. […] We did a lot of good things, but they got more team points.”

The Hornets finished the year 25-2, and Haak said he was sad to see the season end.

“It was another great year,” Haak said. “It was so enjoyable. We had some great personalities. I think the thing we will miss the most is we won’t be able to have hang out together. […] There were a lot of positives. We saw a lot of kids grow up.”

Before the loss to Lena-Winslow, the Hornets had plenty to celebrate from the individual success at Champaign. Sophomore Anthony Luis (106) finished in fourth place, losing his first match to the eventual second-place finisher, winning the next three matches and then losing in the third place match. Senior Nathan Cowan (182) lost in semifinals to the eventual state winner and finished in fifth place; and junior Chance Shelton, in his second time at state, lost two very close matches to the eventual fourth- and sixth-place winners.

The highlight of the individual state tournament was Stott’s championship. Stott, whose highest previous finish at state was third, had little problem getting to the first-place match. That’s when things got interesting.

Stott had a nose bleed in the tunnel and had to have his nose plugged. In the first 20 seconds of the match, he was kneed above the eye and had to have it butterflied and taped. In the second period, he had to have his head taped again. Then, in the third period, there was an issue with the clock stopping the match for another few minutes.

By the time the match reached the overtime period tied at zero, the other two weight classes had completed their matches, and all eyes were on Stott and his opponent.

The match went to a fourth extra period, and Stott lost the coin flip. His opponent chose top and, if he would have held Stott on the mat, Stott would have lost, something the senior wrestler said he was not going to let happen.

“I figured there wasn’t anyway I was going to get beat,” Stott said. “I went down there to win it, and there wasn’t anyway I was going to walk out without a bracket. I figured I would have to do whatever it took to get out in 30 seconds.”

With 15 seconds left in match, Stott somehow pinned his opponent to claim the championship.

Stott is part of 21 consecutive years of family wrestling in Harvard. His brothers Bernard, Kevin and David all wrestled for the Hornets, and Bernard and Kevin both qualified for state twice but neither won.

“My whole family went down there and, as I said, I had two other brothers who qualified, and I didn’t want to walk of there again without winning it,” Stott said. “I figured as a family we should at least win once.”

Stott now holds two records at the individual state tournament — the quickest pin at 170 pounds, a new weight class, at 42 seconds, and the longest pin in any weight class at 8:15. He is not concerned about the records and said he is simply enjoying the win.

“[Winning] was pretty indescribable,” Stott said. “It’s the greatest feeling ever.”

His only disappointment was not getting to wrestle in the Oregon sectional tournament.

“I came to compete,” Stott said. “It’s not a good feeling when you go to compete and don’t get a match.”

The Hornets graduate 10 seniors but have several good wrestlers returning including Luis, Shelton, sophomore Adam Friemund, junior Travis Heck and freshman Christian Kramer.

“We’ve been in this situation before,” Haak said. “We have people graduate and move on. Who is going to take their place?

Who is going to step forward into the leadership roles? That’s the challenge.”