Northern Star: Zak McPhee
McPhee holds almost every category in Proctor/Hermantown wrestling history.
PROCTOR, Minn.- Zak McPhee, of the Proctor/Hermantown wrestling team, looks to build on an already historic career, having surpassed 150 career wins. Setting a new program record and having done so by his junior season.
Wrestling is a family affair for the McPhee boys. Zak and his older brother Alex took to the sport in pre-school, after their father, a former wrestler himself, enrolled them in a local youth program.
“My Dad started to take a role in our youth program and so I had worked with him all throughout youth so that’s from pre-k all the way through sixth grade and then I just found a passion, found success and then I just wanted to keep wrestling. We’d go to a ton of tournaments, just get a ton of matches in because I just liked doing it,” says McPhee.
As Zak grew with the sport he loved, he also grew as a person. Taking away life lessons one match at a time.
McPhee says, “Your success, you altitude is determined by you because you have the option to put in all the work. It’s mentally draining, it’s tiring. It’s a six minute sprint, yet you’re using all your muscles, it’s super tiring but then you learn grit and perseverance, and you just grow as a person and you become more resilient and I think I’ve taken that away.”
“Zak is just super dedicated, he’s always been really hard working. Success has always been there but he’s also put in a ton of effort,” says head coach Eric McPhee, “As far as the team, he’s got really good leadership capabilities, he shows the guys a lot of respect, the new guys too. He’s dragging them along with him just trying to make everybody better. Just trying to improve the team.”
Many schools in the area lack a wrestling program. Zak says, he is thankful he has the option to compete for his school and is happy to see the popularity of the sport grow in the Northland.
“It’s not very prevalent in other schools and especially up here. We were involved with the program early on and it was really small, there was very few kids and then it started getting more and more dedicated and more kids, but it is cool to see that people are noticing and actually knowing what wrestling is,” says McPhee.
Zak has represented the program at the state tournament both his freshman and sophomore years, and this season he has his eyes on making it three in a row.
“Wins are fun but it’s kind of the state tournament you’re looking forward to. So really these matches in between they’re alright if you win but my goal is the state tournament, so that’s first off with sections, doing well there and then preparing for the state tournament,: says McPhee.
Zak and the rest of the team will compete in the Jackhammer Invitation in Pequot Lakes, set to begin Saturday.