Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

Wrestlers make trip to state

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Harvard Hornet senior Adam Freimund wrestles in the 285-pound weight class at the IHSA Class 2A state meet. HML photo by Neil Schultz

Three Harvard High School wrestlers competed in the IHSA Class 2A state wrestling meet Feb. 20 to 22 at Champaign. Senior Matt Wheeler, 0-2 in the 160-pound weight class, lost his first match 5-2 and his second match by fall. Sophomore Zach Martin (195) was 2-2 at the state meet. He won his first match 3-2, lost 9-3 in the quarterfinals, won 2-1 in his first wrestleback and lost his last match 17-2. Senior Adam Freimund (285) finished in fifth place with a 4-2 record. Freimund won his first match 1-0, lost in the quarterfinals 2-0, won his third match by fall, won his fourth match 7-0, lost his fifth match by fall and won his last match by fall. Freimund’s three losses this year were to the first-, second- and third-place finishers at state.

“It was a great trip,” said HHS head coach Tim Haak. “I always think it’s about kids wrestling to their potential, and our kids do that.”

It was the first time at state for Wheeler and Martin.

“It was nerve racking,” Wheeler said. “I wish I would have done better, but I gave it my all and that’s all you can ask for.” “It was intense,” Martin said. “Adam kept me going, kept me motivated.”

Wheeler, who wrestled on varsity all four years at HHS, will join the Navy after graduation. He said he will miss his teammates.

“It’s the best spending time with your second family,” Wheeler said. “I wouldn’t even call them second. They are my family.”

Martin said he will need to find a way to keep himself motivated with his wrestling partner gone.

“I’m going to keep myself motivated,” Martin said. “Since Adam is gone, I will find myself another wrestling partner and have the coaches help me out.”

Haak praised Martin’s performance at the state meet. “Zach Martin as a sophomore wrestled a great tournament,” Haak said. “He won close matches and came close to placing.”

Freimund, who qualified for state last year but did not place, said the coaching staff, specifically Haak, was the reason he improved every year in high school.

“I can’t really thank the coaches enough,” Freimund said. “Without them I wouldn’t be here.”

Freimund said he will always remember some of the things coach Haak said to motivate him.

“One of the things I remember [Haak] telling me was ‘Are you going to be one of those big guys at Harvard that does something with your life or are you going to be another one of those big guys that walks through and does nothing?” Freimund said.

Haak praised Wheeler and said he “provided the leadership that the group needed.” Further, Haak said Freimund was instrumental in raising the perfomance level of his teammates.

“Adam has turned into the ultimate leader,” Haak said. “He takes care of everything. He knows what needs to be done without being told. He has the ability to raise those around him to the next level and he’s done that.

“The only way Adam was going to be happy was if he won it, but he has to look at it from where he was as a freshman to where he is now. He’s so much better than he was last year.”

The Hornets moved from Class A to 2A this season. They were the smallest school in 2A and competed against schools twice their size in the post season.

Haak said his coaching staff never used that as a crutch.

“When we found out we were going to 2A, we talked to our kids,” Haak said. “We don’t control our enrollment. We don’t control the state cutoff. We do control our attitude and how we can work at something and prepare. We used it more as a challenge more than anything.”

The state meet marked the last time Haak will coach the Hornets at the IHSA individual state meet, a thought he said is not a concern at this time.

“You’re so involved in it now that you really don’t have time to think about it,” Haak said. “I imagine it will hit me once I’m away from it for awhile. The spring is always about preparing for the summer. It will be the first time I won’t be preparing for a summer.”

Freshman Jake Wilcox (106) and seniors Anthony Luis (113) and Isaiah Rudd (152) were alternates to the state meet but did not wrestle.