Wrestling is underway for area high schools, who all hit the mats last week to kick off the season.
Jon Grell returns as head coach for Woodstock High School.
Captains this year are Tanner Heidtke, junior, 160-pound weight class, and Paxson Dechant, senior, 152. Dechant is the only varsity starter to return from last year.
Javier Villalobos is a promising junior who will wrestle heavyweight at 285. Steven Cunningham, a junior, earned varsity experience as a sophomore, and his cross-country efforts add to his capability as a wrestler. Aiden Jacobs, sophomore, 182, also had several opportunities to wrestle varsity last year.
The Blue Streaks lost to Marengo 54-15 Nov. 22 but had several nice victories. Heidtke won by decision. Villalobos and Dechant won by technical falls.
“We are a very young group and there is a lot of teaching going on at this stage of the year. We are trying to show what varsity-level wrestling looks like, and we are also trying to build a solid foundation of technique, strength and fitness,” Grell wrote in an email. “We never have a huge group of wrestlers, so the coaching staff is always looking for creative ways to plug wrestlers in without pushing them too far too quickly. With lower numbers, which seems to be more and more common these days in wrestling, dual meets are not the focus. The focus for our team is to work together to help each Blue Streak wrestler to achieve the absolute maximum. It still takes a team to do this. The most rewarding part of coaching wrestling is to see a freshman stick with it for four years and demonstrate steady improvement on the mats and also to watch him grow as an individual.”
David Silva begins his first season at Marian Central Catholic High School as head wrestling coach. Silva wrestled at Dundee-Crown High School and was a state medalist.
Marian’s lineup this year includes three captains, two of whom are new to Marian. Luke Silva, a junior, is a returning state qualifier. He attended Prairie Ridge last year. Anthony Randazzo, also a junior, is a two-time state qualifier. Randazzo wrestled at Marian last year. Anthony Silva, a senior, is a returning state qualifier who transferred from Rockton-Hononegah.
Marian won the eight-team Carmel Dual Tournament in Mundelein Nov. 25 and 26, going 7-0. They defeated Richmond-Burton 42-25, Carmel 38-30, West Chicago 53-30, North Chicago 48-9, Waukegan 48-27, Lake Forest 45-33 and St. Patrick 39-30.
Top performers were Randazzo 7-0 with five pins, Luke Silva 7-0 with four pins, Adam Konopka 7-0 with four pins, Connor Smith 7-0 with three pins, Anthony Silva 6-1 with three pins, and Daniel Valeria 6-1 with three pins.
“For us, this is just the beginning. It’s a process, and the process is just starting,” Silva remarked on the team’s victory at the tournament.
Woodstock North, coached by Tim Creighton, competed at the Vernon Hills Invitational with a 3-2 finish. The Thunder defeated Round Lake 39-23, Solorio 52-0 and Ridgewood 46-24.