Despite losses, Haak’s Thunder make dad proud

Woodstock North’s Josh Haymond (back) wrestles Grayslake North’s Ryan Merki during the 170-pound weight class match Thursday in Woodstock. Merki won the match.
Woodstock North’s Josh Haymond (back) wrestles Grayslake North’s Ryan Merki during the 170-pound weight class match Thursday in Woodstock. Merki won the match.

WOODSTOCK – If you closed your eyes and just listened at the Woodstock North versus Harvard nonconference dual on Thursday, it was hard to tell which Haak was coaching.

In the 113-pound match, the Hornets’ Mark Struck and North’s Derek Doyen were in a scramble in the first period. On one sideline, Tim Haak was yelling instructions to Struck and Shane Haak, Tim’s son, was equally vociferous coaching Doyen.

The voices were similar, the pace and intensity identical and many of the suggested corrective actions were similar.

Shane acknowledged it was a little eerie, hearing himself say the same things his father taught him at Harvard.

“I find myself saying the same things. It scares me,” Shane Haak said. “When you’re with him for 22 years you pick up some things.”

Harvard defeated the Thunder, 61-6, in a match that featured teams at opposite ends in their development. Tim Haak has been coaching the Hornets for well over 20 years and Shane Haak is in his first year at Woodstock North. The Hornets are perennial regional champions and the Thunder earned its first Fox Valley Conference Fox Division win earlier this season.

Tim Haak said the Woodstock North program is moving in the right direction after seeing some of them wrestle over the summer.

“I just can’t believe the improvement North has made,” Tim Haak said. “That’s really a credit to Shane and his coaches. I’m amazed by it.”

Johnny Peterson got a come-from-behind win for the Hornets at 132. After getting put on his back for a near fall by North’s Jake Schmitt, Peterson managed to get out of bounds to avoid the pin.

During the break, Tim Haak told Peterson to wrestle smart and that he didn’t need to get all the points back at once. Peterson had his own idea. After reversing Schmitt, Peterson stuck him for a first period pin.

Peterson said he was trying to follow his coaches instructions but just kind of fell into a pin position. The outcome was easier than trying to climb back into the match one or two points at a time.

“I was just trying to get one (escape point),” Peterson said. “It’s like you don’t have to work as much.”

Travis Heck also won by pin for Harvard at 152. He is ranked No. 10 in Class 1A by and is one of four ranked Hornets. Heck, a senior, said getting to the state tournament is the goal this season.

“I haven’t made it there yet,” Heck said of state. “I’ve been working really hard.”

Also winning by pin for the Hornets was Anthony Luis at 106, Matt Wheeler (160) and Zach Martin (195).

Woodstock North also lost to Grayslake North, 46-15, in an FVC Fox Division dual.

Sophomore Ruger Walsh had two decision wins for the Thunder. Against Harvard, Walsh decisioned Christian Kramer, 1-0, at 138. Walsh entered the third period up 1-0 and rode Kramer out to get the win.

“This is going to be hard,” Walsh said he thought entering the third. “I just tried to keep him on his belly.”

Shane Haak said he is taking both a short term and long term approach to building the program. He is working to build the feeder program but also trying to maximize his talent immediately.

“Our goal is to go out and compete. I thought we competed well,” Shane Haak said. “We’ve taken huge steps forward.”

Also winning for the Thunder against Harvard was freshman Dillon Kline at 182 with an 8-6 overtime decision.

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