Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

For coaches, meet a family affair

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Woodstock North head coach Shane Haak shouts encouragement to one of his wrestlers Jan. 17. HML PHOTO BY KEN FARVER

There is no greater tribute to a coach than to see the athletes they coached continue the legacy in the sport. On Jan. 17, the legacy of Woodstock High School graduate and Harvard High School coach Tim Haak was apparent at the wrestling match between the Woodstock North High School Thunder and the Harvard Hornets.

Haak’s son Shane is in his first year as head coach for WNHS. Two of his assistants, Robert Homola and Matt Streit, wrestled at HHS. The Woodstock Cyclones, a youth wrestling program that practices at WNHS, came in to watch the match, and two of its coaches, Ryan Sciame and Junior Reyes wrestled at HHS. Even the referee, Mike Clark, wrestled at HHS.

“It was a fun night, not just with me and my dad but with how many people were there,” said Shane Haak. “So many Harvard athletes were there on both sides. That was really cool having everyone there. … It was fun competing against him. I thought our kids competed well.”

“It’s certainly exciting to have our son as a head coach and have an opportunity to compete against his team,” Tim Haak said. “I think the overall atmosphere was special. There were a lot of former Hornets involved, and I think that was the neat part. Overall, it was really a rewarding night to see how many people I have had a chance to coach go on to coach or officiate to give back to the sport.”

Also attending the match were Tim Haak’s wife Chris and his high school wrestling coach Jim Patton.

Chris Haak said she enjoyed watching her husband and son compete against each other although she had an idea of what would happen.

“With a new program and a program with a lot of tradition going together, we kind of had an idea of what the outcome would be,” Chris Haak said. “I did joke with Tim to be nice. I just was supportive for both of them and I just wanted to enjoy the moment. I was proud of both of them.”

The Thunder, a very young team with 14 freshmen, are 11-16 and have shown significant improvement this year, something that Tim Haak said is clear.

“I had a chance to watch the [WNHS] kids over the summer,” Tim Haak said. “It’s a real tribute to Shane, his coaches and the kids with how far they have come because, technique-wise, they have made major strides.”

In the end, the veteran Hornet team defeated the Thunder 61-6.

Tim Haak said he is pleased with how his team has overcome some early struggles and seems to be peaking in time for the end of the season.

“We’ve had some growing pains,” Tim Haak said. “Anytime you replace 10 out of 14 starters that will happen. We’ve made some big strides and I think we are starting to do some of the little things on the mat.”

The Hornets will host the IHSA Class A regional tournament Saturday, Feb. 2.