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Photo courtesy of Rick Beato

Ethan Hartowicz, top, puts the pressure on Prospect's Brian Maigler during their 170 match Jan. 24 at Elk Grove.

Prospect cruises past undermanned Elk Grove

By Ed Muniz

Senior Nights celebrate the commitment student athletes make to their sport and recognize the contributions of their parents.

Elk Grove honored its wrestlers and their families Jan. 24. Unfortunately the results of its meet against Prospect was anticlimatic.

The visiting Knights (22-4) dominated the hosts 77-0..

Prospect  clinched the Mid Suburban League East title with the win and now looks forward to the conference meet this week.

Elk Grove battled to the best of its abilities.

“We’re still building, we’re trying to get more kids out,” said second-year coach Phil Winter. “A couple of years ago our junior high program dropped off a little bit, and that’s hurt our numbers. Plus we’re missing a couple guys due to injury. We still manage to be competitive in matches we do wrestle so there’s no quit in who we have out there.”

The Grens have struggled in dual meets and that continued on Senior Night. Of the 14 matches scheduled, Elk Grove forfeited half of the scheduled bouts.

The strong Prospect squad continued its excellent season.

“We saw this would be one of the lighter meets of the year as far as number of matches go, but we still knew they would put quality opponents against us," said Knight coach Tom Whalen, who is in his fourth year at the helm. "We still had to do what we had to do for us, and get our work done.”

Photo courtesy of Rick Beato


Elk Grove's Luis Gonzalez, top, tries top break down Joe Benway, of Prospect, during Benway's 15-10 victory.

Prospect led 6-0 after an opening forfeit. Elk Grove junior Luis Gonzalez tried to put the Grens on the scoreboard against Joe Benway.

After a scoreless first period, Gonzalez fell behind early in the second. He nearly brought the Grenadiers even when he reversed Benway to his back. But the toughness of the Knights and Benway showed when the senior held off his opponent and escaped. He went on to a 15-10 win.

After another forfeit, Prospect 145-pounder Bobby Juvosz convincingly controlled Dominic Stacey with a 14-2 major to up the Knights lead to 19-0.

Following a forfeit at 152, the Knights and Matt Wroblewski quickly added to the lead. After an early takedown, Wroblewski worked Grenadier sophomore Mike Olsen to his back and closed at 1:09 to gain a 31-point advantage.

The 170- and 182-pound matches were nearly identical. Brian Maigler pinned Ethan Hartowicz at 2:46, and teammate Tanner Strobel finished the 182-pound match at 2:45 over Ricardo Gutierrez.

“I had to adjust to what he was doing because he kept rolling around so that’s about all I did," Maigler said. "I thought I worked hard on top, but I have to improve my position and set the tone earlier."

Sporting a blood-bruised left eye, Strobel talked about wrestling an opponent who  was the same height.

“I found wrestling him kind of difficult, because I couldn’t take the shots I’ve been trying to focus on," he
said. "I’m trying to improve each match; and having that type of match, I should have done better.”
 
James Ford gave the Knights another victory at 220. He led 6-0 after two periods and coasted to the 10-1 major decision over sophomore Daniel Jamieson.

The heavyweight match concluded early, as most 285-pound bouts do. Prospect's Dema Govalla recorded three takedowns, and two near falls before pinning Elk Grove sophomore Pedro Martinez at 2:31.

Prospect wrestlers Alex Alex Straczek (126), Sam Lobono (138), Mike Ragucci (152), Jackson Wrede (195), Vince Lobono (106), Alex Preissing (113) and Chris Rivera (120) received forfeit wins.

“We’re looking improve each week," said Whalen. "Do I feel we improved this week? Yeah, obviously. Can we wrestle better? Yes, 100% we still have room to grow.

"I’m happy with the entire year. They have been working so hard all year. They’re setting goals and accomplishing them and refocusing. We finished up at 22-4, and it’s all tournament time now.”

Photo courtesy of Rick Beato
 

Former Grenadier coach, wrestler and now Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson does commentary during the Prospect-Elk Grove dual meet.

Notes

Prospect coach Whalen used to be the head coach for the Grenadiers. ... The Knights will challenge for the MSL crown next week at Hersey. They hope to knock off perennial powers Barrington, Conant and Schaumburg. ... The mayor of Elk Grove, Craig Johnson, is a past head coach of the Grenadiers and was a former wrestler. Mayor Johnson taped his weekly television show at the match and provided commentary on the bouts.
 

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