After rekindling love for wrestling, Haan to compete for USCG

June 21, 2017

Robert Haan wrestling

Robert Haan

Colony’s Robert Haan collected 145 career wrestling wins in high school. Then he lost his final match as a senior, a defeat that left him devastated and dejected.

For the first time in his life, he no longer wanted to wrestle.

“For a long time, it was something I wanted to do; then for a while I kind of felt like it was something I didn’t want to do,” he told me. “But then I really thought about it. I’ve been away from wrestling for a few months, and it made me realize I do miss it a little bit already and I don’t want to have that regret when I get older.”

Adversity doesn’t intimidate this 18-year-old, a characteristic that will serve him well at the United States Coast Guard Academy, where Haan will wrestle and study civil engineering.

“I’ve got to try wrestling in college,” he said. “If I quit now, I won’t know what I’ll be able to accomplishment.”

He accomplished a lot with the Colony Knights as one of the most successful wrestlers in school history. He compiled 145-21 career record with four top-3 state showings and one state championship. He helped the Knights win Class 4A titles in two of his final three years.

As a senior, the 195-pounder carried an undefeated record into the title match when he suffered a dramatic 4-3 loss to North Pole’s Bradley Antesberger at the buzzer. Bradley trailed 3-2 before he took Haan down to the mat right before the final whistle blew.

“It was a bad tournament for me,” he said. “It’s all good.”

Haan can shrug off the loss today, but it took time. And even though he thought about quitting, he’s never been a quitter and wasn’t about to start now.

“I was raised in a really good family where I had a lot of support and that allowed me to be brave enough to work hard and not be scared of failure,” Haan told me. “If you’re scared to fail then I guess you can never really succeed.”

It’s no wonder the terrific teen has been recognized for superior academic achievement and leadership potential by the United States Coast Guard Academy, the smallest of our nation’s five military service academies.

“Their mission statement seems like they’re more about helping people in need than fighting and protecting our country,” he said. “All of military branches are super respectable and they are protecting our country, but I just felt like serving in the Coast Guard would fit me the best.”

Admission to the Coast Guard Academy is highly competitive and fewer than 400 appointments are offered annually from a pool of over 2,200 applicants. Cadets receive a full tuition scholarship and monthly stipend for a five-year service commitment to the Coast Guard upon graduation.

Haan signed his letter of intent in May and will be sworn-in as a member of the Class of 2021 in New London, Connecticut, on June 26.