The Warriors’ lone loss last year came against Huntley and the first-year McHenry coach thought they struggled to make the final moves to come out on top in high-pressure moments over the past few years.
“I’m really proud of this group that they were able to stay so poised and focused,” Rohman said. “Not get too high, not get too low and keep our goals in sight.”
The Warriors and Red Raiders exchanged leads five times, including when Huntley took one to create a winner-take-all final match. Lucas Van Diepen won by fall to secure the win and complete a full-team performance.
Rohman thought Friday’s win also set up the Warriors well to accomplish their goals of winning conference and regional titles. The coach knows his team will face even livelier atmospheres than Friday’s at Huntley and he’s happy to see them pass their first test.
“This is the kind of atmosphere that these kids are going to be facing,” Rohman said. “As we get down to crunch time, this is the type of atmosphere that we want to be in.”
Tigers trying to overcome injuries
Crystal Lake Central is staying positive despite its tough injury luck during the first month of the season.
The Tigers have been without Thomas Mertz and Jon Barrick for parts of the season because of injuries and haven’t put together a full lineup yet this season.
Central coach Justen Lehr is disappointed with the tough injury luck but knows that the regular season is a time to put everything together for the postseason.
“It’s all for February,” Lehr said. “We use the season for practice until we get to regionals.”
Central has had some strong showings despite key absences. The Tigers finished fourth at the competitive Downers Grove South tournament on Dec. 10 and Ben Butler placed sixth at the Al Dvorak Invitational where most of the Tigers won a few matches.
Lehr is focused on staying positive and keeping his wrestlers motivated as some battle through obstacles to get back into the mat. The two-week winter break is a good time to regroup as everyone prepares for the final month-long sprint to the postseason.
“These two weeks are super important to us,” Lehr said. “We want to focus on getting people healthy, focus on things kids need to work on individually and have a little fun.”
Red Raiders try to gain experience quickly
Huntley is still going through some growing pains a month into the season.
The Red Raiders lost experience from last season’s team that won that Fox Valley Conference title but coach BJ Bertelsman is encouraged with the growth he’s seen so far.
“They’re learning their way and we’re getting better,” Bertelsman said. “We need to pick it up in the wrestling room before we get late in the season.”
Huntley’s inexperience and growth was on full display during its two-day stretch of duals against Hampshire and McHenry on Thursday and Friday. Bertelsman thought his team didn’t compete at the level it needed to despite a 33-29 win over Hampshire but was proud of how the Red Raiders competed in a close loss to McHenry.
The road doesn’t get much easier when Huntley travels down to Granite City to compete in the two-day William “Red” Schmitt Tournament next week before returning to FVC action and some tournaments in January.
“We’re still in a punishing schedule where there’s no rest, we don’t get any weak teams,” Bertelsman said. “It is what it is, we go after them and we get them, see what happens.”
Skyhawks gaining confidence
JD Sylvanus is trying to build confidence with his young Johnsburg squad by getting more experience at junior varsity events.
“There’s just been a continuous improvement,” the Skyhawk coach said.
Your Varsity Medalists! Jacob Calhoun (@jacobca98465616 ) with a🥉 place finish! Landon Johnson (@LandonJJohnson3 ) with a 4th place finish! #TrainWorkWIN🦅 Way to #BringHomeTheHardware Gentlemen! @JHSSkyhawks @JohnsburgSD12 @mdwojak94 @NWHPreps pic.twitter.com/MxbEVrz14i
— Johnsburg HS Skyhawk Wrestling (@GoJHS_Wrestling) December 18, 2022
Sylvanus saw strong performances from Jacob Calhoun and Landon Johnson at the Stillman Valley varsity tournament. Calhoun finished third and Johnson finished fourth as they both regrouped from earlier losses in the tournament.
“There’s exciting things to come for those two moving into the rest of the season,” Sylvanus said.
Sylvanus is looking for different technical improvements but gaining confidence is the most important thing. The coach hopes wins now in junior varsity matches can lead to varsity success moving forward.
“We want to build confidence so as we get later into our dual meet schedule and at regionals, we’re as confident as we can be in our wrestling ability,” Sylvanus said.
McHenry County-area wrestlers impress at Dvroak
The McHenry County area had 11 wrestlers place in the top eight of their weights at the Dvorak Invitational held at Harlem this past weekend.
McHenry’s Chris Moore was the lone winner at 170 pounds while Marian Central’s Max Astacio (160) and Jacobs’ Dominic Ducato (113) both finished second. Huntley’s Markos Mihalopoulos (285) and the Golden Eagles’ James Wright (132) both earned a third-place finish, the Warriors’ Jesse Saavedra (285) finished fourth, Butler (152) took sixth, Prairie Ridge’s Jake Lowitski (106) and Marian’s Charlie Fitzgerald (145) and Ethan Struck (152) all earned seventh-place finishes and the Wolves’ Mikey Meade (126) rounded it out with an eighth-place finish.
Source: The Daily Chronicle