Feb. 7, 2013
- by Ryan Madden, Media Relations Intern
A senior leader on this year's highly ranked Mizzou wrestling team, three-time NCAA championships competitor Brent Haynes has grand aspirations for his final collegiate season. "I want to be an All-American and a National Champion," says Haynes. "For me, it's just about putting it all together at the right time."
Haynes is one of the best wrestlers in the country; however, his story is one of perseverance.
Unlike many of his colleagues, Haynes success in wrestling has not always come easily. Haynes, who began to wrestle at the age of four, describes his difficult introduction to the sport. "I used to cry all the time," he says. "My Dad would leave the wrestling room and I would just start balling." Despite the rough start, Brent soon began to enjoy himself. This growing affection for the game, however, did not always translate into success for the young athlete. "I didn't win a single match for the first three years I wrestled and only on occasion in my fourth. I just didn't have the instant success that some other people did," says Haynes.
Originally from Kansas City, the growing Haynes began to show promise. He soon matured in to one of the best wrestlers in his age group.
"I started to get better as I grew up. I wouldn't say by the time I got to high school that I was the best, but I was right there with them."
What Brent lacked in initial prowess, he soon made up for in hard work. By the end of his high school campaign, Haynes was dominant, and his wrestling accolades ran a list a mile long. As a member of the Northmen wrestling squad at Oak Park High School, Haynes's team would rack up four state titles while consistently finishing in the top ten nationally. Personally, Brent won two state championships and was ranked as high as second in the nation. He was a four year letter winner and a junior Greco national champion.
Despite his lofty status amongst some of the best prep talents in the country, some schools still doubted Haynes's prospects at the collegiate level. Haynes, however, says of his decision to come to the University of Missouri, "Part of the reason I came to Mizzou was because it's the big home state school, so I grew up a fan. The other part of it was to prove those people who doubted me wrong."
He has done just that.
As a freshman, Haynes contributed immediately, recording 20 wins in his first campaign. A redshirt freshman, wrestling at 197 pounds, Haynes earned himself a trip to the NCAA championships after helping lead the Tigers to impressive victories over Illinois and Chattanooga.
Carrying that momentum in to his sophomore season, the Tiger grappler opened the year with 12 straight wins - capturing three open victories in the process. Haynes consistently helped the Tigers score points against top notch competition and again earned himself a trip to the NCAA Championships. Despite being knocked out of the tournament after going 2-2, Haynes finished the season an impressive 29-11.
His talents were again on display in the 2011-12 season, in which he earned his third career trip to the NCAA Championships. Haynes improved on his sophomore campaign, going 24-8 (12-5 in duals), at one point winning 15 of 16 matches. His hot streak culminated in a gratifying first place victory at the prestigious Southern Scuffle. His performances would also earn him Big 12 Wrestler of the Week honors.
This year, Haynes reached the 100-win plateau as a member of the Missouri Tigers. He stands at 106 career wins right now, and one more win will put him in the top-10 win category in Mizzou's history. Regardless of all of his individual accomplishments, Haynes is looking to reach even higher in his senior season. "I love this school," he says. "I love this team, but I still haven't accomplished all the things I want to." Clear in his goals, Haynes says he wants to be an All-American, and possibly even a national champion.
Despite his early troubles, wrestling has become an integral part of his life.
"It's what I grew up doing, it's what I do now - it's my family."
Haynes, who says he would like to be a coach once his collegiate career ends, understands that the road towards his goals will be difficult. But, for a guy who has been persevering his whole career, I wouldn't bet against him.