HOLLAND, MI- West Ottawa has a fine tradition of wrestling competing on the national stage. Mathew Hakken has added his name to the list of national team members this school has produced (joined also by his team mate Julian Jimenez). Hakken is a man on a mission and he inspires those around him to dedicate themselves to something greater. We chatted with Mathew about his upcoming sophomore season, his adventures in Fargo, and the fears he has faced.
How did you prepare for this season?
The way that I prepared for the upcoming season is I practiced at least 3 days a week. I worked out most weekends preparing for Nationals in Fargo with some of the best coaches and wrestlers in the state. I was able to travel to some of the best facilities in the state. I also pushed myself harder than I have ever in order to get ready to wrestle at the national level which will help me this season. Realizing that when you think you're done, you're not, you just need to push through a little farther.
What was being on a travel team like?
Being on a travel team was pretty fun. I got to meet a lot of new people from around the state as well as people from other states. It was a great experience wrestling for different coaches who had a lot of different techniques. It was also really great to work with other wrestlers from around the state who are some of the top kids at their schools.
How was your experience wrestling at the national finals in Fargo?
Wrestling in Fargo was very intense. I was able to wrestle with some of the top wrestlers in the country. I was able to pick up different skills and moves from some of the best wrestlers the country. It was an amazing opportunity that I was able to take part in this past summer. I realized with hard work, and dedication I can achieve some of the goals I have set for myself sooner than I thought possible.
What are some of the hurdles you have to face?
One of the biggest hurtles I have is getting in my head before a match. I have to realize that the match right before me is the one I need to focus on. It doesn't matter who I am wrestling, it doesn't matter who they have beat in the past, this is the match that matters right now. I also have to continue to work on my quickness. I need to continue to get a little fast each day.
What has been for motivation in the off season?
My motivation during the off season originally was to make it to Fargo. After Fargo, my motivation is to make it have another winning season. I would like to make it to regionals, and then to state this year. Realizing that I was able to make it to the national level really helped motivate me to continue to grow throughout the off season, as well as continue to grow through the season.
Who is your wrestling hero?
My wrestling heroes are Coach Jared and Coach Lancaster. They continue to push me farther than I thought I could. Both coaches have been by my side throughout my wrestling seasons, whether that be folk style, or free style/Greco. They both inspire me to reach for goals that don't seem possible, and even when I fall short, they continues to push me, and encourage me to keep my head up, stay focused, and try again. They are not only a great coaches, but a great people as well.