Prairie Ridge’s performance at the Glenbard West Invitational on Saturday has wrestling coach Justin Peete encouraged that the Wolves are taking the right steps heading into the final month of the season.
Two Wolves won tournament titles, and five more earned top-six finishes in a big weekend of progress for the team.
“It was just a lot of good stuff from some of our inexperienced athletes getting to experience some high-level action,” Peete said.
Jake Lowitzki and Tyler Evans each won titles at 106 and 113 pounds, respectively. Xander York (152) finished second, Mike Meade (132) and Lorenzo Massart (113) placed third, Walter Pollack (285) took fourth, and John Fallow (220) finished sixth to lead the Wolves to a fifth-place finish out of 13 teams.
Peete thought his team could’ve finished higher with some different moves on the mat, but he was encouraged the Wolves could see how well they could compete at a tough tournament.
“It’s super important for them to see where they’re at and see their hard work start to pay off,” Peete said.
With less than a month until the IHSA postseason starts, Peete is looking for consistency. He thinks tournaments are more useful than duals for the Wolves to learn what they’ll need to do to have a deep playoff run. He wants the Wolves to take what they learned from Saturday and keep growing until regionals start.
“I’m super happy with where we’re going,” Peete said. “As long as we can continue to keep everyone healthy, we should have a good final run with our dual meets and head into the state series.”
Depth comes up big for Crystal Lake Central
Crystal Lake Central showed off its depth once again at the Waubonsie Valley Megadual on Saturday.
The Tigers, like many of their opponents Saturday, have dealt with injuries and skin conditions that have kept wrestlers out of the lineup for much of the month. But different Central wrestlers stepped in to help the team win all four of its duals.
“If we ask kids to step up and do something for the team, we expect that to happen,” Central coach Justen Lehr said. “It’s good for those kids to get a chance.”
Although Lehr wants his team to be at full strength, some vacancies have given opportunities for junior varsity wrestlers. Some Tigers sometimes don’t compete for more than a week because opposing teams don’t have the same number of wrestlers within the program as Central, so moments like Saturday give depth and lower level wrestlers an opportunity to step in.
Lehr said Nick Kazlowski has done a good job at 220 for much of the season, and Tony Morales has filled in at 195 nicely with state-qualifier Jon Barrick still out with an injury.
Saturday’s performance leaves Lehr encouraged heading down the stretch as the Tigers try to get healthy and make preparations for the final run.
“It’s about making sure they’re mentally prepared for what’s about to come,” Lehr said. “I think our schedule lends itself to that too.”
Pieces coming together for McHenry
Dan Rohman’s ideal lineup is starting to come together as McHenry prepares for the final month of the season.
“I don’t want to talk prematurely, but I think things are starting to fall into play for us,” the Warriors’ coach said.
Three wrestlers reached their weight that Rohman will want them to compete at for the postseason. Andy Lara got down to 220 ,while Ryan Hanson (106) and Jimmy Norris (113) each got down to their respective weights.
Hanson and Norris each won their matchups by fall against Hampshire on Thursday and then finished third in their respective weights Saturday at the Sycamore Invitational.
The biggest question will be how long Chris Moore will be out of the lineup. One of the state’s best wrestlers at 170 and an Illinois commit, Moore missed Thursday’s dual against Hampshire and didn’t compete in Saturday’s invitational.
Rohman said he expects Moore to not miss much time and that the team isn’t looking too far into the future despite everything seemingly coming into place.
“Don’t look past anybody,” Rohman said. “We know that injuries can happen at any time. You never know what could happen, so we want to take it one dual at a time.”
Dundee-Crown gaining tournament experience, success
Dundee-Crown found a wide range of success Saturday at Geneva’s Newbill Tournament.
“Every one of our wrestlers found some success in the day,” Chargers coach Tim Hayes said. “Even if it wasn’t a win, or they did something that we’ve been working on with them and they were successful with that.”
The Chargers finished eighth overall as a team, and Porter Leith (195) and Teigen Moreno (220) won their respective classes. Alex Rice (113) battled back from an illness and took third. Chris Gerardo (120) finished fifth, and Aiden Healey (106) and Xaveous Ford (170) each took eighth.
The Chargers gained experience for the postseason since the Fox Valley Conference doesn’t have a season-ending tournament like some other conferences do. Saturday left Hayes encouraged heading into the final stretch of the regular season.
“They’re starting to progress and starting to put things together,” Hayes said. “They’re just wrestling tough.”
Hampshire’s glimpse into the future
Matt Todd got a glimpse of what he wants to build his Hampshire program into when the Whip-Purs took on McHenry on Thursday.
Hampshire won four matches against the FVC-leading Warriors, but McHenry showed off its depth at every weight, leaving the Whip-Purs excited about what he and his coaching staff can build Hampshire into.
“That’s kind of where we want to be right now,” Todd said. “We know we have to get better. We’re slowly getting there.”