York a Rude Guest in Hinsdale
By Gary Larsen
When a guest shows up in your home and yells at your dog, eats all your food and steals your wallet, it ought to tick you off.
Visiting York did just about the equivalent of that to Hinsdale Central on Friday and it didn’t sit well with Red Devils’ senior heavyweight Jack Allen.
Allen described the main reason for his side’s 33-22 dual loss in two words: “Mental toughness,” he said.
“Nothing is handed to you in wrestling,” Hinsdale Central coach Jason Hayes said. “You can be ranked whatever and get beat, and tonight we were ranked high and York out-wrestled us. They beat us.”
The fifth-ranked team in Illinois per Illinois Best Weekly wrestled without two key starters and sent a few wrestlers battling illness into battle. The Red Devils’ Friday night lineup also included six sophomores and a freshman against a senior-rich York team.
But Hayes wasn’t having any of it.
“York came ready to wrestle and we didn’t,” he said. “Every team goes through times when they’re missing starters, or wrestling banged up, but you have to fight through those things. We didn’t do a good job of fighting through them tonight.”
York is also one of the top teams in Illinois this season. The Dukes were ranked 14th in IBW’s preseason rankings, one of five teams in the West Suburban Conference’s Silver Division to be ranked among the state’s top 25 teams.
On Friday, York saw performances from wrestlers who bumped up in weight against the Red Devils and flat-out got the job done.
The Dukes earned an 8-6 edge in matches won and earned bonus points in five of their eight wins. York posted two falls and three major decisions while Hinsdale Central had one fall and one major decision on the night, to go with four straight decisions.
“I was so proud of our guys. It’s so early in the season but if you get one like this early, hopefully it can catapult us into the rest of the year,” York coach Terry Clarke said.
“Hinsdale Central is a very good team, just like the rest of our league. I’m proud to be part of this league, be part of duals like this one, and I’m especially happy to see us come out on top.”
The night kicked off with Central’s Tommy Ward getting it done against York’s Denzell King at 119 pounds. King led 4-3 on a pair of first-period takedowns, but a Ward escape followed by a takedown at the edge in the second period gave him a 6-4 win that held to the end of the match.
“Tommy stayed tough,” Hayes said. “(King) is solid. He fought off a number of single legs but Tommy stayed tough and found a way to win.”
York’s Brandon Kulczyk used an escape with time running out in the match at 125 to win by major decision over Matt Freyn, and York’s Rudy Guthrie (130) and Troy Valdez (135) earned pins to put the visitors up 16-3.
Hinsdale Central’s Jimmy Grimm got his side back in the win column with a 4-0 decision at 140 over York’s Marcus Loffredo, thanks to a first-period takedown and second-period reversal.
“Jimmy’s a hard worker and he leads by example for us,” Hayes said. “He does all the right things.”
Central’s Terry Ward followed with a 9-3 win over JP Finan at 145 to cut York’s lead to 16-9, but the Dukes won decisions at 152 and 160 to neutralize the Red Devils’ gain.
Max Evers got in on a handful of singles against York’s Alex Mortimer at 152, but Mortimer fought him off throughout in winning a 7-4 decision. York’s Sergio Lopez also held Central sophomore Chris Miller without a takedown in a 6-2 win at 160 that put York up 22-9.
Hinsdale Central’s TJ Salley gave his side its first bonus-point win of the night at 171, a 17-4 major decision over Ray Casken. Salley had five takedowns and twice earned three near-fall points, but he couldn’t put Casken away.
“It didn’t play out the way I wanted it to. I went in expecting to get a pin,” Salley said. “(Casken) knew what I was looking for and he was working to keep the match close. I would have been happier to get the pin. That’s what I work for in practice and bust my butt for, to do the best for the team.”
Hayes likes what he’s getting from the junior Salley thus far.
“He’s coming around and making some strides,” Hayes said. “He just needs a little more confidence to pull the trigger more. He can be very dangerous when he’s pushing himself and getting out of that comfort zone.”
York’s RJ Kleinhans came up big at 189, using takedowns in the first and third periods en route to a 6-2 win over Andrew Pyle.
At 215, York senior Jim Nudera gave away 25 pounds to Hinsdale Central freshman Brian Allen, but wrestled smart throughout a major decision win. Allen placed third at last Saturday’s Barrington tournament, and Nudera was ready for him.
“I watched film on (Allen) during the week. He’s a great wrestler as a freshman but every wrestler has holes,” Nudera said. “The challenge for me was that this was my week to cut weight. The new IHSA rules said I had to cut down if I wanted to wrestle at 189, so I had to fight the strength battle tonight. I just had to wrestle smart. I got the first couple takedowns and I felt the momentum go my way. But he brought the fight and he’s going to be a great wrestler, just like his brother.”
Jack Allen didn’t allow fans to settle in for the heavyweight match, pinning York’s Zach Smith at 1:02 to cut York’s lead to 29-19. But with two matches left to wrestle, the Dukes’ Ryan Bowman clinched the dual win with a major decision win at 103 pounds over Marco Del Rosario.
Central’s George Tolbert ended the night with a 2-1 win at 112 over York’s Frank Connell.
“George is banged up but he showed what we’re looking for,” Hayes said. “We’re looking for guys that can wrestle through those aches and pains. You’re never going to feel perfect and that’s what we have to get our kids to understand. You have to fight through it.”
Jack Allen sees more intense practices in the Red Devils’ immediate future.
“The team needs to get a little more mental toughness, work harder in practice, and learn how to finish,” Allen said. “You can’t get a single leg near the edge and push a guy out of bounds. Drag him back to the middle and take him down.”
“We didn’t come out and wrestle hard,” Hayes said. “I’ll take the blame for that because I thought we could have wrestled harder. It seemed like York wanted it a little more. They fought off takedowns more than we did and some of our guys needed to step up.”
Ranked teams in Lyons Township, Oak Park and River Forest, and Downers Grove North await both teams on the WSS schedule. Proviso West has a stable of bona fide studs in its lineup, and Glenbard West placed second at the Ed Ewoldt tournament to start the season.
“No one can be underestimated in this conference,” Nudera said. “It’s a log-jam at the top, which is a good thing. There’s no off weeks and we have to go at Proviso West next week. Top to bottom I think we’ve got one of the best conference in the state.”
“The last two years, our conference has had the most state qualifiers and all-staters,” Clarke said. “And the good thing is we’ve got all these great young coaches – Jason Hayes, Griff Powell, Mike Powell, Chris McGrath – it’s just fun to be part of the league.”
Last edited by Larsen; 12-04-2010 at 05:05 PM.