Riverside-Brookfield High School wrestling coach Nick Curby anticipates the annual season opener at Lyons Township High School for multiple reasons.
Their dual meet the Wednesday before Thanksgiving in LaGrange also is the annual Alumni Night first organized by LTHS coach Griff Powell more than a decade ago.
Curby is a 1998 Lyons Township graduate.
“Many times I see the same group of guys but every year there might be one, two guys I hadn’t seen in a long time that make it back,” Curby said.
“I like my wrestlers to see that, a program that’s rich in tradition. We keep building the program to where we want it to be. They see what a fun wrestling environment can really be like.”
With no IHSA state series this past abbreviated spring season, RBHS seniors Mateo Costello and Brock Hoyd are the lone returnees to have competed at a state meet – Costello in 2020 (0-1 at 113 pounds) and Hoyd in 2019 (0-2 at 120) in Class 2A.
The Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association organized a 2021 state tournament in June with an IHSA-like format.
IWCOA Class 2A state qualifiers included RBHS’ Costello (126), senior Liam Cote (182) and juniors Quintavius Murrell (113) and Bill Martin (160).
LTHS’ IWCOA Class 3A sectional qualifiers included seniors Cooper Schodrof (160) and Patrick Jesse (106) and junior Ricky Cavaliere (220).
The Lions enjoyed a great team spring, sharing the West Suburban Conference Silver title with Glenbard West and Downers Grove North en route to a 14-3 record.
Schodrof and junior Cooper King are the Lions’ captains. Other key returnees are seniors Ben Zeman, Quinn Riordan, Luka Tomich and Daniel Lee and juniors Jackson Garelli and Calum Rogers. Lineup newcomers include senior Willy Takash and sophomore Gunnar Garelli.
“I think this team has a lot of potential to improve throughout the season,” Powell said.
Also back for the Bulldogs are seniors Daeshawn Jackson, Michael Racanelli and Ethan Randt. Jackson and Hoyd were one sectional victory from 2020 state.
“[Our success] depends on the younger guys filling in some of the holes. We have high expectations and are thinking they have good potential,” Curby said.
Curby became involved with LTHS’ Alumni Night when coaching Plainfield East and has continued since coming to RBHS.
The event contributes fundraising for the Jake Curby Memorial Scholarship, which honors the LTHS senior wrestler who best exemplifies the wrestling and personal character of Jake, Nick’s brother and 2002 LTHS graduate who was fifth at state his senior year. Jake died in 2010.
Halfway during the dual, competition halts to acknowledge the LTHS alumni lined up along the mats.
“We usually have 75-plus alumni. We’ve had guys literally from the 1960s teams and when [former head coach and current assistant Mark King] started in 1972, 73,” Powell said.
“For our kids, they see a lot of the history on the wall, on the record boards in our gym. They get to see these guys come back and recognize their talents and obviously how LT wrestling meant something to them.”