By Melvin Tate
The Riverside-Brookfield High School wrestling team made history this weekend by participating in the IHSA dual-team quarterfinals for the first time in school history.
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs had a tough draw for its quarterfinal opponent - four-time state champion Washington. Mateo Costello tallied RBHS' only points with a 2-1 decision over Josh Biagini at 113 pounds.
Despite displaying tremendous effort, RBHS fell to the Panthers 65-3 at Grossinger Motors Arena in Bloomington. Here is what Bulldogs head coach Nick Curby had to say.
On knowing the uphill battle going up against Washington…
"When we saw the draw, we knew it would be tough," he said. "But I was actually happy with how the kids wrestled. The score doesn't really show how well they competed. When you're a program in the state quarterfinals for the first time and you face a four-time state champion, the nerves are different. But the kids came out and wrestled hard."
On letting final match not take away from the year's overall success RBHS enjoyed…
"We had nine kids stepping into the varsity lineup for the first time," Curby said. "Going in, I thought we were going to be building; we were young and inexperienced, and I was getting ready to talk about progressing through the year, setting our sights for a couple of years down the road. But the kids bought into everything we did with them, and they worked hard. You want to be peaking in February; that's when you want to be wrestling at your best. We had our ups and downs, but overall, the month of February was really good for our program, and we reaped some of the rewards."
On three returning seniors in the lineup and how they set the tone for the season.
"Corey Dishmon has been in the lineup the last three seasons. He knew what was expected of him as a senior; he displayed a strong work ethic in practice and didn't take any days off. That set the tone with the younger kids. Garrett Weimer was a bit undersized for his weight class, but he fell in love with lifting weights and became a vocal leader. He was always matside encouraging his teammates. And Jake Stewart, who was our heavyweight, came out with a demeanor that displayed a lot of confidence. He would pin a lot of guys. They each had their own little roles, and during my four years as a head coach, they've bought into everything that we're doing. And it was nice to send them off by being part of the first RBHS team to go Downstate in wrestling."
On the experience gained this season and how it'll impact next year's team…
"We're going to be back," he said. "To be one match away from getting a state trophy, the kids are going to be definitely motivated as we head into the offseason. I'm excited to see how much progress we can make between now and next season."