Glenbard North beats WW South in DVC
By Steve Nemeth
What was most surprising about Friday's DuPage Valley Conference dual meet between Glenbard North and host Wheaton Warrenville South was how unsurprising the results for the whole meet turned out to be.
Glenbard North, Illinois Matmen's No. 2-ranked Class 3A program, pretty much won every weight at which the Panthers boasted a rated individual.
Thanks to an extra 18 points in forfeits, Glenbard North just didn't feel like celebrating a 45-25 victory that not only bumped them to 18-3 overall, but brought them within one of being a perfect 7-0 in DVC duals.
The league awards three points for each regular-season dual triumph meaning Glenbard North is on the verge of opening the upcoming conference finale with a 21-point head start.
"Between the forfeits here and there, and not getting some of our big guns into the meet, it takes a little wind out of your sails, so you end up with a win, but it doesn't represent the best you're capable of," Glenbard North coach Mark Hahn said.
"It's hard to be happy or to try to imagine winning a truly huge dual if you get pinned three times. Tonight told us we still have work to do."
And that sentiment was pretty much echoed by the Panthers, who got an immediate 6-0 lead when Johnny Gosinski, rated No. 4 in the latest Illinois Matmen 3A individual rankings, gained a forfeit win at 112.
No. 3-ranked 119-plounder Bryan Gonzalez completed a 16-0 tech fall victory over Kevin Simmons a half minute before the end of the third period.
Wade Hazard, an IM Honorable Mention pick at 125, followed with a 5-1 decision before No. 1 Joe Gosinski's 47-second flattening of Ryan Pierce at 130 made it a quick 20-0 Glenbard North lead.
Wheaton Warrenville South standout Mark Savenok, currently rated No. 5 at 140, not only returned from a knee injury but was making his debut at 135 where he'll stay for the remainder of the season.
Glenbard North's Tom Collum could do very little in keeping Savenok from cruising to a 15-4 major decision to put the host Tigers on the scoreboard.
"I was looking for the biggest win possible, preferably a pin or at least a tech fall, but it was also my first time back on the mat," Savenok acknowledged.
"So I'm obviously not completely satisfied with the result, but I've got a lot of hard work to put in the next few weeks to get where I want to be, but I will get there."
With Glenbard North's No. 2-ranked Brian Murphy getting a forfeit a 140 and Honorable Mention 145-pounder Mario Rodriguez adding a 13-4 major decision over Luke Bialas, the Panthers’ 30-4 advantage was getting near to being an insurmountable lead.
"After he took me down and I escaped, I came back with an outside shot and I was confident I could keep taking him down," Rodriguez explained.
"I'd been having some trouble with my tilts, but thankfully I've got great partners in Brian (Murphy), Joe (Gosinski) and Tom (Collum), who've helped me get better and I used that to my advantage."
On the opposite side of the mat, the host Tigers were equally aware of the sense of urgency needed for any kind of boost to produce a phenomenal comeback.
While Spartak Chino, one of the many Senior Night honorees, will take his current No. 4 ranking at 160 with him to 152 pounds for the rest of the year, the two-time all-stater did his best to ignite a rally with a 1:59 pinfall over Brandon Heyduk.
The conquest now puts the senior just one victory from becoming the all-time winningest wrestler in the school's long and tradition-rich history dating back through its days as Wheaton Central, Wheaton Community, and Wheaton High School.
Then after a scoreless first period, Glenbard North's Paul Freeman was hoping for an escape to start the second period by opting for the down position, but IM Honorable Mention Steve Franke, fresh off a first-place finish at Geneva's 32nd Annual Newbill Invite, executed the moves necessary for a 3:41 pinfall.
"First off, he beat me in last year's dual so I wanted some revenge, plus the team score is always important," Franke said. "In the middle of the second period, I got my leg in and I knew I could pin him and that's exactly what I did."
What Evan Welsh's 5-2 decision over Dan Fierro did was make the meet suddenly brighter for the host Tigers. The gap was narrowed to 30-19 with 12 of those 30 points representing forfeits.
But that's when Glenbard North's Dan Eldridge took on Honorable Mention 189-pounder Vinny La Montagne and managed an escape for a 1-0 lead heading into the third period.
While the Tiger senior chose down and started with a reversal, that lead was short-lived as Eldridge quickly escaped and then managed a late takedown for a 4-2 win for a 33-19 Panther lead.
"That was a tough loss for us, but their kid was in better shape and got the critical takedown at the end of that match," WWS coach Ryan Ferguson conceded.
"I'm just getting the chance to open up and show what I'm capable of," Eldridge argued. "As a team, we're in great shape, in terms of conditioning; I'd say no one else is in shape like us."
Perhaps a counterargument could be made thanks to Wheaton Warrenville South's Joe Hall, IM's No. 2-ranked 215-pounder yielded a couple escapes between a trio of first-period takedowns before his fourth two-pointer led to a 3:10 pancaking of Jordan Gedik.
"During duals I always want to go for pins to help our team total," Hall said. "From the beginning I felt I could take good shots and work toward the pin. Doing it is another indication that I'm getting where I need to be in terms of wrestling shape."
Hall, also fresh off a Newbill Invite title, is unbeaten versus Illinois foes since his only setback came at the hands of an opponent from Iowa.
The senior admits he's close, but still has work to do in order to be in optimal wrestling shape following a stellar football campaign.
"It's one thing to be in condition for football and another to be in wrestling shape. In wrestling, you have to last the whole match from beginning to end with the same intensity. It's full on out the whole time while in football you can go in short bursts," Hall explained.
While Hall's stick narrowed the margin to 33-25, Glenbard North's Honorable Mention heavyweight Dan Buyle slammed the door shut on the Tigers' slim comeback bid with a pin of Kendric Welch in 1:07.
"I knew we need a few more big wins to close the deal so I just focused on wrestling my best," Buyle explained. "I saw his lead leg out there and off a first move, I hit his bottom ankle and knew I could take him."
After that outcome, the Tigers deferred to the strength of Glenbard North's Jon Marmolejo in giving IM's No. 4-ranked 103-pounder a forfeit win to complete the meet at 45-25.
"I'm realistic enough to know that to compete in a dual with a quality program like Glenbard North, you can't be forfeiting matches and points to them. We got down early, but my kids have a lot of pride in themselves, the school, and the program," Ferguson explained.
"So that meant we were able to get within shouting distance of them, but they've got top quality kids throughout their roster. At the same time, I know I've got a core group of guys who can always produce anything from a decision on up to a pinfall regardless of who they face. It's why we're still looking forward to the DVC meet and beyond."