Providence Wins Chicago Catholic League; Avelar Has Strong Showing
By Seth Schwartz
Special to Illinois Matmen
Finding comfort at the right weight class often translates to getting your hand raised at the end of the match.
Brother Rice’s Mike Avelar (135) sent a message that he can go with the best by beating Providence’s top-rated stud Edwin Cooper 5-3 Saturday afternoon in the Catholic League Conference tournament at Loyola.
No. 4 Avelar rode out Cooper in the second period. Cooper got in deep and finished a double-leg takedown midway through the third. But Avelar escaped and 20 seconds later secured a takedown and rode out Cooper for the decision.
“He was stronger than me, but I had more stamina,” said Avelar, 32-1, who gave Cooper his second defeat of the season and was voted the meets outstanding wrestler. “I saw an opening and took it. I got a single, switched to a double and was able to get the two.”
Brother Rice assistant Jan Murzyn enjoyed the victory.
“Mike maintained position, put the pressure on Cooper and didn’t allow him to penetrate,” Murzyn said.
“Mike has heavy hips,” Providence coach Keith Healy said. “He did a nice job of countering us.”
Whoever stays at 130 for the Celtics will be the favorite to win State. 135 is a tougher class with Wheeling’s Luke Smith and Oak Park’s Chris Dardanes. Providence’s Mike Togher (130) was a force pinning St. Rita’s Kyle McGovern at 48 seconds in the final and getting a second period pin in the semifinal.
“We have two 130 pounders,” Healy said. “We’ll have to see what’s best for the team. We won’t know until the regional.”
Providence beat Mount Carmel for the title 227-221.5.
Eddie Klimara (119) had a tech and a fall in the final. Tom Ambrose (125) and Brett Phillips (145) also took first.
After wrestling at 215 the last two years, St. Rita’s Eric Nolen is back with guys his size. He got an escape in overtime and rode out Brother Rice’s Bob Kerr for a 5-4 decision.