BY ANDY ROWER | MIRROR SPORTS — Recent Maumee graduates Mason and Ryan Haas have committed to join fellow alumni Anthony Arroyo and Louie LaChapelle in wrestling at Baldwin Wallace University.
The sons of Steve and Stephanie Haas, Mason and Ryan are four-time Maumee varsity wrestling lettermen who just recently wrapped up outstanding high school careers in which they combined for more than 175 wins, five top-four Northern Lakes League finishes (runner-up three times), five sectional championships, a pair of top-five district finishes and a state placement.
“I had the pleasure of coaching them their seventh- and eighth-grade years and then their sophomore, junior and senior years and also had the chance to coach them in football and had them in the classroom, so I was around those kids a lot,” said Maumee wrestling coach Ken Walczak.
“They were just very competitive and respectful and did well academically. They are definitely going to be missed.”
Ryan graduated with 96 wins and was a three-time NLL runner-up, a two-time sectional champion and one-time runner-up, a district runner-up and a state placer.
He first began wrestling at age 6 and placed fourth at the NLL tournament as an eighth-grader.
Ryan entered high school as a 145-pounder and earned 12 varsity wins as a freshman.
A year later, he bumped all the way up to the 182-pound weight class, where he won 17 matches and was a league runner-up and a sectional champion.
“I would say after my sophomore season in high school is when I became extremely passionate about the sport,” Ryan said.
He next wrestled as a 195-pounder during a junior season in which he won 27 matches, placed fourth in the league and repeated as a sectional champion.
Ryan decided to drop back down to 182 pounds for his senior season.
“I just felt that my style of wrestling toward the end of my junior year was more meant for 182 and I was a very light 195-pounder,” he said.
“I would weigh in at most tournaments at about 185-187, so for my senior season I decided to make the cut to 182 and finally get to wrestle kids my weight because even my sophomore season wrestling at 182 I was still wrestling at like 173 and giving up a lot of weight.”
The move paid off as Ryan racked up 40 wins. He was a league runner-up, a sectional champion and a district runner-up.
Ryan’s district finish allowed him to join teammate and 220-pounder Brandon Phillips in qualifying for the state meet.
A three-time state qualifier, Phillips went on to place as a runner-up for the second time and Haas ultimately finished eighth.
“This year was a remarkable season for Ryan,” Walczak said. “Everything just came together.”
When asked what all went into his yearly improvements, Ryan responded, “A lot of hard work – that’s for sure.
“My dad would make my brother and I lift with him every single day right after football, lifting since our sophomore year and I think that was one of the things that helped me most strength wise,” he continued.
“And, having a friend like Brandon – who is always pushing me to go to offseason workouts at Foxfire Wrestling or go to any wrestling practice in general in the offseason – has definitely helped me.”
Other successful Maumee classmates in similar weight classes, such as Noah Pasquinelli and Justin Schneider to name two, also surrounded Ryan throughout his prep wrestling career.
“I couldn’t have asked for better friends to grow up wrestling with than them,” he said. “We all pushed each other so hard because we all wanted each other to succeed. Wrestling all those guys every day just made us all that much better.”
Prior to Phillips, who Ryan added “would make us all wake up at 6:00 a.m. every morning to go on a jog before school to make sure we were in the best shape for matches,” he also credited former Panthers wrestlers such as Arroyo, LaChapelle and Cahle Puhl for his development.
“Wrestling with Anthony, Louie and Cahle was very influential when I was younger because I got to see what success was like to them and they would always be trying to help me and everyone else out to become better at wrestling,” he said.
“Cahle Puhl, Anthony Arroyo and Louie LaChapelle showed me what it takes to be a varsity athlete,” he said.
Another thing Ryan said helped his wrestling career was being a three-year member of Maumee’s varsity football team, where he totaled 113 tackles, four sacks and three fumble recoveries over his past two seasons.
“It helped my toughness and playing tight end and linebacker really helped me stay low in my stance. Going through someone when you shoot in wrestling is just like hitting and tackling someone in football.”
Players such as Ryan and Mason Haas and Phillips led Maumee’s football team to a 6-4 record this past year and the Panthers closed the season out by winning the Ding Dong Bell with a 26-14 victory over archrival Perrysburg.
Ryan was rewarded for his play with second-team all-NLL honors as a linebacker.
“Having a good football season gave us a lot of confidence to take it over into wrestling and we knew we had all put in the work to have a good wrestling season,” he said. “We were extremely hungry.”
Maumee’s wrestling team ended up placing fourth at both the league and sectional tournaments and finished 13th out of 40 teams at districts.
Throughout the vast majority of his wrestling and football careers, one person was always by Ryan’s side – his brother Mason.
“It was extremely cool to be able to play with Mason for two years of football and wrestle with him for all four,” Ryan said. “It made our bond so much better because whatever I was going through, he was, too. We always did everything together and we would always be there for each other when it came to training or anything else.
“It is so special that we are both able to go and compete at the next level together.”
Though Ryan received interest from Adrian College, Defiance College, Kent State University at Tuscarawas and Muskingum College, the opportunity to wrestle for the Yellow Jackets came when he was contacted by Baldwin Wallace following the past season.
“(The coach) asked if I was serious about going on to the next level and I told him I was and that I was very interested in Baldwin Wallace because I knew Anthony and Louie wrestled there,” he said.
With interest in him coming from both Adrian and Defiance and Kent State at Tuscarawas, Mason’s opportunity with Baldwin Wallace University came from Ryan.
“The coach contacted Ryan and he mentioned me to him,” Mason said.
“Then, after that we went on a visit and I knew it was the place I wanted to be,” Ryan concluded.
In addition to Phillips, who totaled 141 wins at Maumee before committing to wrestle for the Army Black Knights at West Point, Ryan singled out his parents and Maumee assistant wrestling coach Jeff Goatley as some of the biggest influences on his life so far.
“Coach Goatley was a guy I could go to whenever I needed anything and he would always help me with whatever it was,” he said. “He was a great wrestling coach to me and would always be looking for things to make me better after a match that I had won or lost.
“And my mom and dad, of course, were always there by my side no matter what it was and they both always supported me in everything I did.”
While Ryan is currently undecided on a major, he said he is thinking about majoring in sports management or exercise science.
Mason Haas, who graduated with about 80 wins, was an NLL runner-up, a two-time sectional champion and a 2017 state alternate after placing fifth at districts.
The same as Ryan, Mason first began wrestling in the first grade and said he first became passionate about the sport in the seventh grade.
He was a league champion as an eighth-grader and wrestled at 132 pounds on Maumee’s varsity team as a freshman – and even competed in the NLL tournament.
Still wrestling at 132 as a sophomore, Mason totaled a dozen wins, finished fourth in the league and was a sectional champion.
He bumped up to 138 pounds for his junior and senior seasons, totaling 27 wins as a junior while earning state alternate status after placing fifth at districts, first at sectionals and second at the NLL tournament.
Earlier this year, Mason posted 25 wins and placed third at sectionals, after batting back from a sprained foot he suffered in January and a forfeit at the league championships due to needing stitches above his eye.
Despite these setbacks, Mason was presented with the Panther Award following the season.
“It goes out to the person the team thought was a hard worker that was dedicated to the sport,” Walczak said. “Mason got a lot of votes from the younger kids because he worked with them all the time. Guys like Brandon, Justin, Noah and Ryan were bigger, so Mason worked with a lot of the younger guys, and those guys really appreciated what he did for them. He did his part.”
In addition to his wrestling accolades, Mason was a starting cornerback on Maumee’s football team as a junior and starting outside linebacker as a senior.
He ended up totaling 84 tackles, eight pass deflections, two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery and also totaled 131 offensive yards as a senior running back.
Mason was rewarded with third-team league honors.
“Participating in both football and wrestling has me in shape all year-round,” he said. “I also always have the mentality to compete. My favorite accomplishment was defeating Perrysburg at a home game my senior year and winning the bell back for my school.”
Mason said the size differential between him and Ryan “gave him the motivation to always keep up with him,” but echoed his sibling’s sentiments about competing on the same teams over the years.
“Having my brother on the same football and wrestling teams was great because we already have a built-in chemistry,” he said. “Going to the same college as my brother is great because we have always been on the same team.”
Mason went on to say that having n NCAA All-American like Arroyo already at Baldwin Wallace “is exciting because he has already done great things at the college level, so he can teach me.”
“It is extremely exciting to me that I have such a good, experienced wrestler like Anthony to show me the ropes and I’m excited to learn from him every day.”
Mason said his Maumee coaches have been the most influential people for him because “they taught me how to play the sport the right way.
An NLL senior all-academic selection who graduated with a 3.25 GPA, Mason is also undecided on a major but may strive for a business career down the road.
“I can see both Mason and Ryan being good college wrestlers,” Walczak said. “I think they’ve got the skillset for it, they’ve got the toughness for it and they’ve got the ability to do it.”