By JARED BELL
Trevor Chumbley had no clue.
When Chumbley’s father told the 132-pound Marmion junior that he had been selected as a finalist for the GO EARN IT Wrestler of the Week award, Chumbley didn’t know what that even meant.
“My dad told me that our coach had nominated me and that there were other kids nominated, too,” Chumbley recalled. “I was like, ‘What???’ I was a little surprised and I didn’t even know it was a thing.”
He – like everyone else – learned pretty quick.
A new weekly feature introduced by Illinois Matmen this season, Chumbley was one of the many wrestlers nominated in the inaugural week and one of three grapplers selected as a finalist.
Once he learned about the poll, Chumbley, his friends and family and Marmion wrestling put on the full-court press.
“My dad talked to some family members and I texted a couple of friends and teammates,” said Chumbley, who voted for himself. “I had a lot of people reach out and support me. It just kind of took off.”
Chumbley – who said he checked the updated standings a few times every day from Sunday night to Tuesday morning – beat out Hononegah 285-pound senior Anthony Cassioppi and Burlington Central senior Austin Macias to officially claim the award when the poll closed at 8 a.m. Tuesday.
“I posted (links to the poll) on Twitter and on Facebook,” Marmion coach Donny Reynolds said. “The support from the team, the school and his family in general was great. All his close friends were all over it and it spread like wildfire. At first, I was like maybe I should blast this out to the whole school and community, but turns out I didn’t really need to push it too hard.”
The honor was the culmination of a standout week.
After many feasted on Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing, Chumbley feasted on the competition at Saturday’s 27th Annual Moore/Prettyman Invitational as he beat a stacked field that also featured Wheaton North senior Jamie Suarez and Andrew senior Robbie Precin, who Chumbley edged 3-1 in a title match that featured a pair of returning top-4 state medalists.
“It felt really good to win and it was a great way to see where I am at,” Chumbley said. “It was a big confidence boost and very eye-opening. I always expect myself to do well, but I think I proved to myself that I really do belong with these elite kids.”
It was a great start to hopefully a great senior season.
“With the way Trevor trains and how he approaches the sport I knew that he would give everyone fits,” Reynolds said. “He can really frustrate some people.”
Chumbley – whose only sport at Marmion is wrestling – carried over his offseason success into the beginning of this season.
After he finished fourth in Class 3A 126 pounds last season, Chumbley spent the offseason lifting and competing in tournaments. He qualified for nationals in Fargo and earned All-American status as he placed sixth in cadet freestyle.
“His offseason was pretty good,” Reynolds said. “He trained correctly, qualified for Fargo and placed at the Cadet National Championships. He did some serious training in the preseason to get himself ready, and he’s motivated even more this year.”
While this season is only in its second week, Chumbley still has his eye on the ultimate prize.
After he went one-and-done at the state tournament as a 113-pound freshman and placed fourth as a 120-pound sophomore, Chumbley wants to stand atop the podium on Feb. 17 inside the State Farm Center on the campus of the University of Illinois.
“Placing fourth last year was really motivating,” Chumbley said. “My freshman year, I was one and done, and that really fueled me that offseason to get onto the medal stand. Last year, I came up a little short of what I wanted, but it was a great experience and I took a lot away from it. This offseason, I made sure to train hard to accomplish my goal and hopefully I’ll end up at the top this year.”
Just like how he ended up on top of the first GO EARN IT Wrestler of the Week poll.
“He was pretty happy when he won,” Reynolds admitted. “He’s in my Anatomy and Physiology class, so I made sure I congratulated him since I had him first thing in the morning, but I’m sure he already knew since he and his buddies are pretty dialed in to social media. Knowing them they were probably hitting refresh over and over and over until something was officially announced.”