Illini senior honored by Big Ten Conference

By Daniel Johnson

In what came as little surprise to his coach, Yoshi Hayasaki, when Wes Haagensen was named the Big Ten Gymnast of the Week for March 3-10. Haagensen’s score of 89.600 against Michigan on Saturday was the driving force behind the honor, one that Hayasaki said he is very deserving of.

“I think he’s back on track; he’s had some injuries throughout the beginning of the season, but I think he’s back to very healthy status right now,” he said of Haagensen. “Now he can get back to the training that he is capable of doing.”

Haagensen’s score came on Senior Day for the Belleville, Ill., native, a day that he said was crucial for his mentality after his less than ideal start to the season.

“I think it was a big step for myself, confidence wise,” Haagensen said on Monday. “Being that it was our last home meet at Huff Hall, it was just added motivation to perform. Plus, Michigan is just one of those teams you want to crush every time you face them. That, the home crowd, the way that my training has been going, it all came together.”

Training for Haagensen has been a boon as of late, but he has admitted throughout the year that he can overexert himself in his training. For Hayasaki and his coaching staff, continuing to find the balance for Haagensen will be a challenge they will have to face, especially with Big Ten and National Championships coming in April.

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“We need to make sure that he has the proper training and is resting well,” Hayasaki said. “(Overtraining) has always been a concern, sometimes he will go too far, but our job is to make sure that he is doing everything properly.”

It seems, for now, that Haagensen has done all that he needs.