For the Fenwick wrestling team’s Senior Night, old photos of Steven Barshop, Will Flaherty, Jack Lambert and Dan McCall were posted on its Twitter account.
Lambert celebrated a second-round victory at the 2014 frosh-soph Chicago Catholic League Championships – a first-period pin against St. Joseph.
On Thursday, Lambert was victorious in the Friars’ 53-21 Senior Night victory.
It was against St. Joseph. And it was another first-period pin.
“Senior Night was special. I wrestled on Senior Night all four years, even as a freshman, so to be in that position was incredible, just to see it from a different perspective,” Lambert said.
“You work four years for that moment so it was really nice. But to top it off we really brought it to them. We won. That’s the most important thing.”
Barshop and Flaherty also won with pins while McCall lost a close match. The Friars (9-9) were 1-2 at Saturday’s Maine West Quad with a 55-24 victory over Loyola and a 29-26 victory over Riverside-Brookfield Dec. 17.
Tony Poro is in his third season as head coach after being the current seniors’ freshman coach. This season, the Friars regularly fill all 14 lineup spots, a challenge all eight seasons the former Fenwick wrestler has coached with the program.
“Sophomore year we had great wrestlers but we would lose duals because of forfeits,” Lambert said.
Fenwick returns five 2016 Class 2A individual sectional qualifiers – Flaherty (182 pounds), juniors Harrison Graves (220) and Liam Mahon (285) and sophomores Adam Aguilar (132) and Brian Ziech (170). Undefeated freshman Jacob Kaminski (195) leads other strong underclassmen.
The Friars compete at the CCL Championships Friday and Saturday at De La Salle. In 2016, they tied for 14th.
“I’m looking to improve a lot,” Poro said. “We’re full of freshmen, sophomores and juniors, which bodes well the next couple of years. They’re feeding off each other. They push each other in the practice room.”
Kaminski won 2016 freestyle and Greco-Roman state titles at 182 and the 189 folkstyle state title. Kaminski made his high-school debut Dec. 17 and has compiled about a dozen victories — all by pin or technical fall.
“I would really like to go undefeated as long as I can and try for a deep run into state,” Kaminski said. “I would have liked to have more matches, but I feel like I’ve been wrestling pretty well.”
Aguilar is a two-time individual sectional qualifier. Ziech’s only loss is Dec. 10 in the 195 Prospect Tournament final.
The seniors are fueling the success. Barshop, Lambert and McCall are fourth-year wrestlers. Flaherty, who joined as a sophomore, Lambert and McCall are captains.
“They’ve been great as leaders,” Kaminski said. “They lead by example, really showing their work ethic and what it means to be a Friar wrestler academically and in the wrestling room.”
The Friars compete at the 2A St. Patrick Regional to advance individually to the Wauconda Sectional. Lambert wants to be among the Friars’ qualifiers for the first time.
“My biggest goal is to make it to sectionals and not only to make it but to have an impact,” Lambert said. “It might be a stretch to make it to state, but I’d like to go to sectionals and win a few matches, show that I’m competitive.”