By Marty Farmer
Considering the Riverside-Brookfield High School wrestling team returned several talented seniors this season, it's not altogether surprising the Bulldogs are flourishing under new head coach Nick Curby.
RBHS is No. 23 in Class 2A in the Illinoismatmen.com. rankings, has a 14-4 dual match record and is undefeated in the Metro Suburban Conference.
Of course, Curby brought plenty of accolades to the mat as well with 13 seasons, collectively, of coaching experience at Plainfield East and Providence Catholic. The 1998 Lyons Township graduate was an all-state fifth at 189 as a senior and wrestled at Illinois.
"I let our wrestlers know I came to RB to win," Curby said. "We're not taking any steps backward."
The Bulldogs are definitely headed in the right direction, led by an impressive group of seniors including Josh Contreras (18-3 record at 120 pounds), Julian Blanco (15-3/145), Joey Swallow (11-2/160) and Chris Colvin (19-2/220).
Junior Joey Giurini has also wrestled well at 126 with an 8-1 record. Other contributors include R.J. Martinez, Louis Garcia and Amanda Martinez, one of a half-dozen girls in the program.
The Bulldogs won two of three duals at their own quad Jan. 6. RBHS also placed seventh out of 16 teams at the Wheaton Warrenville South Invite Dec. 28. Contreras and Blanco each won an individual title at WW South.
"We are a pretty senior-laden team this year," Curby said. "Hopefully, these guys really wrestle well as we approach the end of the regular season and then into the postseason.
Curby cited Contreras and Blanco as hard working wrestlers who have their sights set on not only qualifying for the state tournament but placing high.
He's also very pleased with the progress of Swallow and Colvin.
"Joey is a gamer," Curby said. "He just had a real big win over a tough kid from Johnsburg."
At 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, the sky's the limit for Colvin.
"Chris loves weightlifting and he put on about 25 pounds during the offseason," Curby said. "He's making a name for himself in Class 2A. Some college programs are talking with him."
RBHS has six events remaining in the regular season before the postseason begins Feb. 4.
"It's really more about fine tuning now," Curby said. "We also need to make sure we are physically healthy so we can wrestle our best when it matters most."