The Lyons Township High School wrestling team already has a signature win this season. The Lions edged last year’s Class 3A state runner up Marist 37-36. LTHS has also won the Barrington Invite and opened the season with 46-18 victory over Plainfield East in late November. Although it’s early, the Lions are off to a very encouraging start.
“[The Marist dual match] was a huge win for our team,” coach Griff Powell said. “We have some guys that are having a lot of success early in the season. If things continue to progress, we can have a handful of guys compete downstate.”
At Barrington, Zach Villarreal (126 pounds) took first place, Elias Garcia (113) and Johnny Mologousis (152) placed second, and Johnny Haworth (285) finished third.
Along with key returners in Garcia, Villarreal, Mologousis, and Howorth, Joe Rossetti (120), Tyler Zeman (132), Mac Casella (138), Nick Spacek (160), Ezra Avery (170) round out a pretty formidable lineup.
Varsity newcomers like Ryan Johnson (145), Jack Hollinger, junior Frank Wallace (195), Taylor Curlin (220), and Nathan Sanda (220) add depth. Niko Harbell, who has competed at 170 and 182 as a spot starter, junior Gabe Mata (285) are other contributors.
While the Lions are 2-0 in the West Suburban Conference Silver Division, the road to a conference title runs through Class 3A defending state champion/national powerhouse Oak Park and River Forest
“We just have to keep working at it and practicing,” he said. “We want to make sure we win our conference duals. What we’re really working for is a state series appearance.”
Friars off to good start under new coach Poro
While it will take a while for new Fenwick High School wrestling head coach Tony Poro to fully integrate his system and philosophy within the program, the Friars’ talent has already provided some positive returns.
The Friars defeated St. Ignatius but lost to St. Patrick and host St. Laurence in a quad over the weekend.
Earlier this season, Fenwick turned in a solid showing at the Hinsdale South Invite as senior Chris Hawthorne (220) and junior Al Aguilar (132) each posted a second-place finish. Hawthorne, who was an All-Catholic League performer in football during the fall, is off to a 7-2 start on the mat this winter. Aguilar claims a 7-3 record.
The Friars have also won two of three dual matches, notching victories over Guerin and St. Joseph. Fenwick also placed 11th out of 29 teams with 59 points in the Guerin Invite on Nov. 26. At the Guerin Invite, junior Dominic Daley (2-2) led the Friars by taking fourth place in the 120-pound class. He lost 8-3 in the semifinals. Freshman Adam Aguilar (126) and Hawthorne both took fifth, while Aguilar came in sixth at Guerin.
Along with the aforementioned grapplers, the Friars possess a talented senior class which should help Poro’s adjustment as the head coach after several years in an assistant’s role with the Friars.
Mike Nuno and Ben Uphues will see action either at 152 pounds or 160 pounds.
Uphues, a sectional qualifier during his sophomore campaign, also recorded a pair of fourth-place finishes at the Hinsdale South and Prospect Invites last season. He’s a talented, experienced wrestler who has recorded double digit-win seasons for the Friars in the past. Matt Bindon (170) is another senior expected to contribute.
“The upperclassmen are really ready to make an impact,” said Poro. “We’re going to get where we need to be through hard practice five days a week. The underclassmen want to contribute and they want those varsity spots.”