Plainfield Central Looks for Positives Following Marmion Loss
By Curt Herron
There have been very few occasions throughout the years when Plainfield Central has failed to capture at least one contested match in a dual meet.
But that's exactly what happened to the Wildcats when they ran into the juggernaut known as Marmion Academy on Saturday in a quadrangular in Plainfield.
The Cadets won all 11 contested matches with the host team forfeiting at one weight and receiving forfeit victories at two others in a 58-12 defeat.
It won't be a surprise if Marmion, top-ranked in Class 2A, pulls off the same feat against some of its other opponents throughout the upcoming season.
But most wouldn't have anticipated that anybody could win every contested match against the Wildcats, who were the seventh-ranked squad in Class 3A.
The loss was noteworthy in that PHS had won its other meets prior to that on Saturday and were off to a 6-0 start before running into the Cadets.
After opening the competition with a 51-20 triumph over Moline, the Wildcats pulled out a 31-27 victory over Lincoln-Way Central in the middle meet.
In the aftermath of Saturday's action, PHS coach Jim Kappas could do little more than hand out accolades to Marmion over its impressive performance.
Kappas also chose to look at the positive benefits from going up against a squad that is not only one of the best in Illinois, but also the country.
"We're very fortunate to have them be a part of this quad because as we told our guys, you could see what excellent wrestling is all about," Kappas said. "That program works very hard, their coaches do a great job and their kids go at wrestling 12 months a year and seven days a week.
"They have high expectations and expect to be great and it shows us that this is where the bar needs to be. A couple of years back we felt that we raised the bar for our own program but now we see how good some others are so hopefully we'll meet the challenge and improve as a program.
"Some of our kids battled and went after their guys but they were more physical and obviously better technicians than our guys. The effort was good, but unfortunately, the momentum kind of hit us hard after some of our lower weights who are pretty good got hammered early in the meet."
The Marmion meet started at 119 and the Wildcats fell into a big hole early after forfeiting the first match and then watching as Eddie Greco, Ben Whitford and Bryce Brill got pins.
Down 24-0 after four matches, PHS went the distance in four of the next five matches, but wound up on the short end of all four of those decisions.
Eddie Gonzalez beat Terry Kubski 10-4 at 140, Angelo Silvestro claimed a 7-3 victory over Ryan Soraghan and Eddie Breen won 5-1 over Kyle Ledbetter.
After Dan Rowland added a fall at 160, the Wildcats had their closest call of the meet when Tyler Ledbetter dropped a 5-4 decision to Jon Wolfgram.
Jordan Ellingwood and Greg Cameron picked up forfeit wins at 189 and 215 to put a halt to a nine-match losing streak which resulted in a 42-0 score.
Following the forfeits, Marmion got falls from Alex Fritz and Johnny Jimenez before Nick Nasenbeny avoided a tech fall in a 15-2 loss to Jered Cortez.
"I thought we could have worked harder against Marmion, but I think this loss is only going to get us better for the future," said Ellingwood, who was the lone Wildcat to post a 3-0 mark for the day.
"We've been doing pretty well so far, but I know that we can do a lot better. We have a good group of guys who all push each other but we need to get more physical and stronger than we are right now.
"This is about where I thought we'd be at right now as a team. But we're getting better and we will be a better team by the end of the year."
The Wildcats received 2-1 efforts on the day from Nasenbeny (112), Jeremy Brown (130), Kubski (140), Soraghan (145), Tyler Ledbetter (160/171) and Cameron (215).
After falling behind 12-7 through the first five matches against Lincoln-Way Central, the Wildcats won six of the final nine bouts to pull out the victory.
Nasenbeny beat Joey Nelson 10-2 in the opener and after the Knights got a forfeit win, Robbie Mikenis edged Ryan Whitten 5-2 and Brown nipped Mick Korte 7-5.
Tyler Schneider beat Ryan Holzrichter 8-5 at 135 before Kubski put the Wildcats in front at 13-12 following the next match when he recorded a fall in 1:42.
Soraghan claimed a 13-6 win over Logan Doyle but the Knights responded with a 6-5 win from Matt Schneider over Kyle Ledbetter and Tom Gross got a fall at 160.
PHS pulled to within 21-20 when Tyler Ledbetter defeated Chris Attaway 13-5 and it moved in front for good when Ellingwood recorded a technical fall in 2:49.
Cameron claimed a 4-3 win over Luke Fisher and Eddie Vicich added a 9-4 victory over Brett Allpow before Tyler Price got a fall for the Knights in the finale.
"We knew how good Marmion was," Tyler Ledbetter said. "So going up against them helps the kids who haven't been in that type of situation to be able to step up. We wanted to see what we could do against them.
"I definitely see some things that we need to work on. I know the heart is there but we haven't really seen the full potential yet. We all work hard and it's business in the room but we also have fun with it."
In Saturday's opening meet against Moline, the Wildcats won nine of the first 10 matches to build up a decisive 46-6 advantage.
Dominic Volpi started things at 103 with a fall in 53 seconds and Nasenbeny won by forfeit before the Maroons got a forfeit win.
Whitten also needed 53 seconds for a pin, Brown followed with a fall in 3:42, Holzrichter captured a 12-2 victory and Kubski was a 12-4 winner.
Soraghan contributed a win by technical fall in 4:04, Kyle Ledbetter followed with a fall in 2:45 and Tyler Ledbetter won 3-2 over Greg Ventris at 160.
Pete Mickiewicz beat Henry Thigpen 4-1, Ellingwood won with a tech fall in 4:41 and Moline's Hanz Shaeffer got a pin and Mitch Kramer added a tech fall.
"I like this meet because all four teams have different styles and it's kind of interesting to see what happens when they clash," Kappas, who only attended the last dual since he was at a junior-varsity tournament.
"I'll be curious to see how our kids bounce back from this and hopefully they come ready to work. When you get kicked in the butt like we did, you want to learn from your mistakes. It's all just about getting better."
The Wildcats return to action on Wednesday when they travel to Wilmington to take on the the top team in Class 1A and also meet Morris in the triangular.