Lake Washington’s Grant Haschak may not have won a Class 4A state title this season, but he does have an accomplishment to call all his own in 4A: All-American status.
Haschak finished in second place at 215 pounds in the National High School Coaches Association Senior Nationals two weekends ago, earning the highest finish by a Washington wrestler since 2006 and earned high school All-American status by placing in the top-8 at the tournament held in Virginia Beach, Va.
“I definitely didn’t even consider [placing second],” Haschak said. “I knew the championship was on ESPN, so I kept telling people ‘hey, you’ll see me on Sunday’, but I actually didn’t even consider it was a possibility. But I just kept winning.”
Haschak, who was 37-0 this season before losing in the state final, was eligible for the tournament by finishing as the state runner-up. Only wrestlers who finished first or second in their weight class could participate in the event. Haschak said the 4-2 loss in the state final to Jacob Trotter of Mead, a wrestler he had beaten earlier in the year, was the motivation he needed for the tournament.
“It maybe helped losing that match,” Haschak said. “It made me just want to work that much harder and train that much harder for this tournament.”
Haschak’s first opponent in the tournament was Matthew Chacon of North Dakota, a four-time state placer and reigning state champion. Haschak defeated Chacon 17-2.
Haschak dispatched Mike Grillakis of New Hampshire 12-5 in his second match. Grillakis, a three-time state champion, went on to pin four more opponents in the consolation bracket and had the most pins in the tournament.
“In the first match, I was wrestling a state champion and I was a little shaky about that; I went out there and handled him pretty well,” Haschak said. “Next was the three-time state champion. I just kept climbing the ladder and the intimidation level went down after that.”
Haschak pinned two-time Kansas state champion Steven Kyler of Kansas in the third round and defeated highly-hyped Willy Wiggins of Florida 11-5 in the quarterfinals. The win assured Haschak of All-American status.
It also propelled Haschak into the semi-finals against Joey Grisko of New Jersey, a nationally-ranked wrestler. Grisko took a 6-0 lead into the final period after taking down Haschak in the first and reversing him in the second. But Haschak rallied in the third, scoring seven points and winning the match.
Haschak’s run ended in the championship match, where he was pinned in thirty seconds by Andy Nelson of Minnesota, the reigning state champion.
“He was very, very tough,” Haschak said. “I came out there, just like in all the other matches, and he took me down and pinned me right there. Definitely wasn’t expecting it to be over that quick, I didn’t have a chance to do much.”
Haschak becomes the highest finisher in the NHSCA tournament since South Kitsap’s Brent Chriswell finished second in 2006. He is Lake Washington’s first-ever All-American.
“I beat three other guys who finished as All-Americans, beat the guys who got fourth, sixth and eighth and it was great to do that,” said Haschak, who will wrestle at Cal Poly next year. “It was a great tournament and it was really cool to become the first All-American from Lake Washington.”