by Rahim Kouferidji | February 19, 2020 8:00 am
On February 8, RB’s varsity boys wrestling team placed first in Regionals at Fenwick High School, with 12 out of 14 starters qualifying for the sectionals competition at Hinsdale South High School. Following Sectionals, two athletes are advancing to the IHSA state competition: sophomore Mateo Costello and junior Quintin Godlewski. Seniors Corey Dishmon, Garrett Weimer, and Jake Stewart, as well as sophomores Daeshawn Jackson and Brock Hoyd will also be traveling to the competition as alternates. Hoyd was a state qualifier last season.
“Quintin and Mateo are wrestling really well at this point of the season and have set their goals even higher now that they qualified for the state tournament. Both of these wrestlers will be wrestling at the state tournament for the first time and getting that experience is great, especially since both of them will be returning next year,” said Nicholas Curby, head varsity wrestling coach and former University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign wrestler.
This season has been one of growth and adversity, especially regarding how young and inexperienced the team is.
“Going into the season I knew that we were going to have a young team . . . Sometimes, in wrestling, physical maturity can play a part too . . . with a varsity lineup with six sophomores and five juniors, you’re probably wrestling a lot of upperclassmen,” Curby said.
Despite this, the squad finished with an overall meet record of 13-8, with losses coming to top-ranked teams.
However, Curby does not focus on records, and emphasizes that improving with each match is the most important thing.
“Going into every match, I never put pressure on any of the guys to win. The expectation is that we go out there and wrestle as hard as we can . . . I don’t measure success by wins and losses in that regard. Like I tell them, when we enter the regional series, everyone’s record is 0-0. It doesn’t matter who you’ve won or lost against up to that point, it’s about what happens from that point moving forward,” Curby said.
The Bulldogs spend each practice in the postseason fine-tuning their skills and focusing on technique, since the bulk of the work was done during the regular season. Now, the remaining wrestlers must prepare their bodies and minds for the biggest competition of their lives.
For Dishmon, having the potential to compete in State is not only a gratifying experience, but a relief.
“I’m glad I got to do it before it was too late,” said Dishmon, who qualified for State as an alternate and was one of two senior leaders.
Although the season is not over, Curby is proud of this year’s group of wrestlers, and hopes that the seniors have had an experience that will last them a lifetime.
“They’ve [the seniors] bought into what I’ve been trying to instill into them and the program . . . Hopefully the lessons that they’ve learned are not only things they’ll hold onto in high school, but throughout the rest of their lives,” Curby said.
The wrestlers will compete at State Farm Center on the campus of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign for the state competition. The Bulldogs will leave for State tomorrow on February 20.
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