Some wrestlers are born for success, relying on their natural talents. Others are molded and shaped in the flames of dedication and desire to be a champion. West Ottawa Freshman Mathew "Mad Dog" Hakken is the latter. we sat down with Hakken to discuss his upcoming season, and his arduous trek to becoming a dominating wrestler.
How did you prepare for the season?
The ways I prepared for this season are that I trained at Myrmidon during the off-season. I would work on everything from take downs, to break downs, pins. We concentrated on cardio to build my stamina for the season. a I also picked up new moves at different camps that I attended throughout the summer.
What was being on a travel team like?
It was fun because I got to wrestle people from different areas that I would normally not get to wrestle. I wrestled some tough competitors from other areas. I became a better wrestler by wrestling people who were better than I am. I enjoyed getting to know my teammates better.
Why did you decide on Myrmidon?
We decided on Myrmidon because while working with little Coach Lancaster gave us information for Myrmidon. I started going there 3 1/2 years ago, and continued to go every week, all year round. I have been able to work with some amazing coaches, Coach Dan Kobo, Coach Ryan Lancaster, Coach Jeff Anderson, and Coach Jared Lancaster. These guys have taught me so much, and made me a much better wrestler.
What are some of the hurtles you have to face?
One of the major hurtles that I have is my size. I have a hard time finding people to practice with, which makes it difficult to work all the moves that we go over at Myrmidon. However, practicing with bigger guys has made me stronger, and tougher. By practicing with bigger guys, it makes it much easier to hit my moves on an opponent my size.
What is it like being in marching band and being a wrestler?
Its kind of hard because I have to get home right away to do my homework before practice. There is hardly a day that I am not busy. I also have to juggle my time between practices, which means I have to sometimes miss out on wrestling to participate in band practices.
Wrestling has helped me with band because it has made me stronger physically, as well as being able to keep up my stamina.
Who is your wrestling hero?
I look up to Coach Jared. I have worked with Jared first as a teammate, and then as my coach. He has worked really hard with me to improve my skills and make me the wrestler I am today. I look up to him, because he has had ups and downs in his high school career. He had set goals for himself, and shown me that some times you have to reach for your goals, and if you don't accomplish them, it's okay. You just keep moving forward and get better every time you step on the mat. He has encouraged me, and shown that he believes in me, not only as my coach but my teammate as well.