Bolingbrook Claims Two Titles at DG South
By Curt Herron
A year ago, Bolingbrook's Jordan Laster was simply too light to be able to be very competitive at the varsity level.
But after working hard during the offseason and putting on a few extra pounds, he figured to be in the Raiders' lineup as their 103-pounder.
Then throw in his practice room work with returning state placewinner Frankie Campos and it's easy to see why Laster is off to a fast start.
One week after claiming second place at the Stagg Invite, Laster finished on top of the awards stand at Downers Grove South's Mustang Invite.
In Saturday's championship match at 103, the sophomore pinned Oswego's Gunnar Hjorth in 3:24 to improve his record to 10-1 on the season.
Laster's lone setback so far this season was a 5-3 decision to Crown Point's Josh Fuqua in the 103 title match at at Stagg last weekend.
For the second week in a row, Campos and Laster were the Raiders' lone finalists in a tournament, but this time they were both champions.
Campos, who is ranked second, added to his Stagg title by taking top honors at 119 with a pin in 3:25 over Hinsdale Central's Tommy Ward.
"I was very pleased with Jordan, who finished first," Raiders coach Rob Kichka said. "He has trained all summer and finally is a real 103-pounder. He enters this week with a 10-1 record, losing only to a kid from Indiana.
"Frankie also wrestled really well and we are looking for him to settle into the 119 pound weight class and keep getting better. He is more focused right now than he has ever been in his high school career."
The Raiders had four other individuals who placed among the top four finishers at their weight classes at the Downers South Invite.
Taylor Baird (189) claimed third place while Milan Patel (112), Antonio Govea (140) and Sean Thomas (145) all finished fourth.
Falling one win shy of making trips to the third-place mat were Lazarick Mahomes (130), Edgar Perez (152) and Dan Korabik (160).
Other Raiders who missed competing for third place by a match were Noah Watson (171), Sean Raymundo (215) and Chris James (285).
Those performances helped Bolingbrook finish tied for fourth place with the host Mustangs with 136 points in the nine-team tournament.
The Raider coach wasn't as happy with his squad's Downers South showing as he was his their third-place effort at Stagg a week earlier.
"I was pleased with some of the guys but I think others need to step it up," Kichka said "We stress winning the close matches and we clearly didn't do that at Downers Grove South.
"Last week at the Stagg Tournament we won those matches but this weekend we did not. Our seniors need to realize that they can not let opportunities slip up and take advantage when they can."
As for one of Saturday's positives for the Brook, Laster opened with a pin, recorded a major decision and closed with another fall.
"I came in kind of light last year, but I'm stronger this year and I'm feeling pretty good since I'm only cutting one or two pounds," Laster said. "I'm pretty happy now but there's still stuff I need to improve on.
"I drill with Frankie all of the time and we have some good matches when we wrestle live so I can't ask for a better partner. We don't have our full lineup yet but once we get it, I'm pretty sure we'll do even better."
After winning at Stagg with two pins and a technical fall, the senior posted three straight falls to claim the title at Downers South.
"Wrestling at 119 is a lot better than going 112 since I don't have to cut weight," Campos said. "The most I've cut was probably two or three pounds. I'm a lot stronger at 119 and so far I'm doing great.
"Jordan's my partner in practice and he's a pretty tough kid who's also pretty fast. I think he's going to be a great wrestler. It's just been a pleasure to be able to work with him during practice.
"I think we're doing pretty good without our full lineup and we'll do even better when we have that. One we get our full lineup, I think we're going to have a pretty powerful team and be tough to beat."
Baird fell in the semifinals to eventual 189 champ Zach Lommatzsch of Downers Grove North then beat Bloom's Cullin Rokos 12-0 for third.
Patel dropped a semifinal match to 112 champion Joey Schump of Batavia and then later lost a close decision to Oswego's Nick Schultz.
Govea battled two quality opponents, losing decisions to 140 champion Blaise Butler of Boylan and to Dave Tessiatore of Downers North.
Thomas lost his opener to eventual 145 champ Terry Ward of Hinsdale Central and then lost a decision to Downers North's Mario Lozano.
Perez and Watson lost in the semifinals to eventual champions and Raymundo fell to the runnerup at his weight class in that same round.
The Raiders are still missing several key individuals who are all expected to contribute in a big way for them this season.
That group includes heavyweight Rob Bain, 171-pounder Malik Snapp and 125-pounder Gene Evans, who are expected back shortly.
"We are still working on getting our full lineup back," Kichka said. "When we finally get our full lineup set, we should be a tough team and can compete with anyone."