FERDINAND, Ind. (WEHT) – Indianapolis is where every Indiana wrestler envisions himself when the season begins, and it’s where they hope to be celebrating when it reaches its end.
For Forest Park senior Travis Haug, that dream has finally been realized.
Friday morning Haug will become the first Forest Park wrestler since 2007 to compete at the state championships at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
“It’s a dream that every wrestler has, and then to fulfill it as a senior is just surreal,” Haug said.
“The reward is awesome, but the work it took to get here is monumental,” said Forest Park head coach Craig Recker. “It’s one of those things that you can’t take for granted, you can’t expect it; you can only dream it, and work hard to get to it.”
Haug is the first wrestler to reach state during Recker’s tenure, and he says that’s no accident.
“I think he put more work in than I’ve seen in any other kid in my coaching career,” Recker said. “The work is showing up. That’s why we’re here; because he put the work in.”
But as surreal as this experience is for Haug, it’s also bittersweet. The senior lost his childhood best friend and wrestling teammate back in 2019.
Anderson Peters suffered a heart attack at wrestling practice that ultimately led to his death. The loss had a powerful effect on the Rangers’ program, and it’s what’s motivating Haug to keep pushing.
“I’d go to Anderson’s grave before each match. I promised him one night, I told him, ‘I’m going to bring your name as far as I can,’ and here we are,” Haug said. “I’ve fulfilled it. As big of a distance as it seemed to go to state, because there’s only six of us to go to state. I mean, it was a pretty hefty promise, and I can’t believe I did it.”
So when the Forest Park senior steps on the mat Friday morning, he’ll know he’ll have his best friend, and his hometown, behind him.
(This story was originally published on February 18, 2021)