No. 3 Minooka tops No. 9 Plainfield Central
By Cassie Charlebois
Minooka and Plainfield Central's top 10-ranked wrestling teams have not met in a dual in over two years. The last time they met was in a 2009 dual at Plainfield Central and Plainfield Central came out on top.
Since then Minooka has lost a dual just three other times, the Indians have been the 2009 state runner-up, and they were the 2010 Class 3A state champions.
In a Thursday night SPC dual that featured 17 Illinois Matmen ranked or honorable mention wrestlers, the Indians let it be known that they did not intend to have a repeat of the 2009 dual.
On the other side of the mat Plainfield Central may have respected that Minooka was the defending state champs but the Wildcats had no intention of rolling over for the Indians.
In a clash of styles -- Minooka with its physical, wear-them-out, attacking style and Central with a bit of a more defensive style that slows down the pace of matches and takes wrestlers out of their matches -- the expectation was for an exciting dual and neither team disappointed.
The dual immediately got off to an interesting start with Wildcats’ (103 IM.com No. 7) Nick Nasenbeny weighing up at 112 to face No. 8 Corbett Oughton. After a scoreless first period, Nasenbeny got himself on the board first, earning a takedown with under a minute left in the second period.
Refusing to leave the period losing, Oughton scored a reversal with four seconds left in the period. In the third period Oughton took down and got his reversal 45 seconds in and rode Nasenbeny out from there.
Plainfield Central gave up a forfeit at 119 weighing in (HM) Nathan Davis up at 125 to meet (HM) Jake DeKlerk. DeKlerk got the first points with a takedown in the first period but it was all Davis after that.
With Davis having been in and out of the lineup for the Wildcats, many of the spectators didn't know what to expect. However, Wildcats coach Jim Kappas knew exactly what he would see.
Kappas described Davis as a "spark plug" and he was just that. Davis battled a quality opponent in DeKlerk and managed to earn a major to get Plainfield Central on the board.
"Nathan is a hardworking kid, he has improved a lot since last year,” Kappas said. “He only missed a little bit at the beginning of the season and he has his feet back under him. We are looking to him to continue to improve and push some of the other guys in the room."
"I am happy with the way I wrestled,” Davis said. “Minooka is a tough team and I wrestled a tough kid. Today, (the Indians) were better."
The next match ended in an unfortunate way. At 130, Minooka's (No. 7) Bobby Zabel and Central's (HM) Jeremy Brown both came out with physicality.
The two wrestled to a scoreless first period but not a lack of action. Zabel took down and escaped 10 seconds into the second, and in the final seconds of the period Zabel hit a quick single leg and back-tripped, taking Brown right to his back for the fall.
After the pin was called, Brown was hurt and unable to get up. He eventually left the mat on a stretcher but was expected to make a full recovery.
Blake Montella, ranked No. 11 at 135, came out with a goal and left the match visibly disappointed in falling short of that goal. Montella settled for a decision win, but the senior wanted the Indians to dominate each and every match of the dual.
"It feels pretty good to win but we didn't and I didn't finish how I wanted to,” Montella said. “I wanted to come out and dominate them."
Minooka coach Bernie Ruettiger understood Montella’s disappointment, but he also understood the Wildcats’ approach.
"That's their style of wrestling. What are you gonna do? You can't bash them for how they want to wrestle,” Ruettiger said. “They slowed us down and maybe that's their game plan. We fought through it and won some close ones."
At 140, Plainfield Central's Terry Kubski kept the match with Leo Ruettiger very close for the entire match. Ruettiger came out with the win and kept the Wildcats off the board for the third match in a row.
Ruettiger scored first with a takedown and Kubski earned an escape. Kubski chose down in the second period and got a reversal late in the period to put him up 3-2. Kubski rode Ruettiger out for the duration of the second period.
The Indians’ senior looked to his coach before the third period and although Leo seemed inclined to take neutral, Bernie Ruettiger wanted him to take down and get his escape.
“At that point you trust your coach and you believe in him. And it worked,” Leo Ruettiger said. “He was right, what can I say?"
Kubski was riding Ruettiger but with 25 seconds left Kubski gave up a locked hands call and then an escape with less than 15 seconds on the clock.
Ruettiger has been at 140 for a while now after making the move up from 125 earlier in the year, and 112 last year. "I am feeling comfortable now,” Ruettiger said. “I need to use my speed a little more and wrestle my matches."
The teams split the next two matches with Plainfield's Ryan Soraghan controlling the full six minutes of his match against Minooka's Joey Govednick and earning a decision for the Wildcats at 145.
Minooka’s No. 5 Jake Residori followed with a 9-3 decision over Kyle Ledbetter at 152.
Next up was the 160 match between the Wildcats’ Tyler Ledbetter and Indians junior Kalvin Hill. Hill finished first at Granite City recently, beating two-time AA state champ Dylan Reel and then finishing with a win over Justin Valencia from Granite City to earn first place.
Fourth-ranked Hill controlled the match and hit a throw for a takedown that put him up 19-6, but Ledbetter was injured in the process and unable to continue.
The Indians junior was disappointed in the ending of his match. “I was disappointed because you want to finish all of your matches. You don't want to end matches that way,” Hill said. “I didn't intend to hurt him. You never want to hurt your opponent. I hope that he is ok and that he will be back wrestling as if nothing happened."
Minooka sophomore Josh Pullara won his match in an exciting 4-2 overtime victory over Henry Thigpen at 171. Plainfield Central won the next three matches
Jordan Ellingwood started the Wildcats’ roll with a tech fall win at 189 over Mitch Morris, and Greg Cameron pinned Matt Layfield at 215. Central’s Eddie Vicich pinned at heavyweight before the Wildcats forfeited at 103 to end the night.
The final score of the dual was 39-23.
"Minooka is the defending state champ for a reason,” Kappas said. “They are a very good, physical, well-coached team and I am very proud of the way my kids wrestled them.
"We have a young team that has taken some lumps. We are not even close to peaking yet. We’re very young, very talented, and we plan to stay healthy and be ready for February.
Plainfield Central will head to Waubonsie Valley for a mega dual tournament on Saturday for a quad, while Minooka competes in mega duals at Lincoln-Way Central and Carl Sandburg in the next two weekends.
"It's a tough stretch heading into the postseason, but it always is,” Leo Ruettiger said. “It's nothing different than years past and coach does it to get us ready for February."
Last edited by Larsen; 01-08-2011 at 07:47 PM.