Username Password Subscribe Now

By Ed Muniz

Chicago Public League wrestling programs want to increase their profile in the state tournament. Some of the city's top teams are making headway. This quartet is among the best. Some of the top teams in the Public League are:

The defending champion

Lane Tech
Coach: Mark Miedona
Last season's record: 14-10.
Last season's record: regional champions; CPL Champions.

Top returnees
Senior Justin Cobb (30-16) was a state qualifier at 135 pounds. Sophomore Chase Wilson (22-20) was an alternate at the state tournament at 145 pounds.

Top wrestlers lost
Yuriy Koverko (39-5), state alternate at 160 pounds; state qualifier Tsogt Ganbold (36-10 at 125 pounds); state qualifier David Mihaila (30-16 at 152).

Outlook
“Our team will be very young this year, but have experienced underclassmen stepping up to fill the line up,” Miedona said. “They had great leadership last year and are excited to get the season started. I am confident that the student athletes on my team are aware of the challenges ahead and are anxious to meet them by competing at the highest level “

The challengers

Bowen
Coach: Ron Wilson
Last season's record: 29-4.

Top returnees
Senior Pedro Preciado, 189, should be a city placer. Coach Wilson has high hopes for him. Junior Matt Jefferson, 112, was a 2008 regional placer. Junior Theodore Davis, 135, completes the trio that will lead a rebuilding Bowen team.

Top wrestler lost
Two-time City Champion and 2008 state qualifier James Walker (31-3 at 160).

Outlook
Coach Wilson feels he has two freshmen that will make it to state. All told Bowen will have three freshmen in their line-up. Each has wrestled since third grade with the Harvey Twisters program. “I am very confident these freshmen will do very well and should end up at the state finals,” Wilson said. Ronzel Darling (103-112) and Ernest Willis (103) will head the freshman class for Bowen. With a good mix of experience and talent, the Boilermakers’ goal is city and the regional championships.

The program has confidence it can find success in the AA tournament. Bowen will face many AAA schools during the season. The Boilermakers hope the new state set-up gives their wrestlers a chance to fight their way into the spotlight.

“Most of my wrestlers have wrestled all year round so I am looking for good things,” Wilson said. “ We will put the best lineup out there with every weight having to be wrestle for (their spot). The best man wins”.

Dunbar
Coach: Lloyd Jimenez, fourth year.
Last season's record: 15-7.

Top returnees
Heavyweight John Price (28-5 in 2008) is a two-time regional champ and 2008 state qualifier. Senior 215-pounder John Hill 215 (26-8) also took the regional title last year.

Top wrestler lost
Graduate Ameer Bogan (27-7) was unlucky after his regional championship last year. He got ill prior to the city and sectional meets. He’s now wrestling in college.

Outlook
Senior-led squad is loaded with experience. Coach Jimenez wants the Mightymen hungry for success and eager to learn. Conference, city and regional titles, and a team spot in the state tournament are the team goals. “I like being one of the top teams in the city, but it can be difficult because of who we wrestle early” Jimenez said. “Our kids seeing what top suburban teams do, well it gets you motivated. Every victory against teams like that is a victory for the program. I want to make it a program, not just a team. It’s working well. I found a good fit here at Dunbar. If you’re a tough, young kid, you have a viable option here at Dunbar. It’s not just basketball in the city. That’s what we want here.”

Mather
Coaches: Tony Graziano and Craig MacFarland (co-head coaches).
Last season's record: 14-10.
Last season's record: second place behind Lane Tech at regionals; sent seven wrestlers to sectionals and three Downstate.

Top returnees
State qualifier and city champ Carlos Wilhelm (26-4 at 103); state qualifier Antonio Liotta (24-10, 112); state qualifier Ameen Solebo (22-17, 189).

Top wrestlers lost
Charlie Byas (27-9, 145) city runner-up; David Odukoya (23-19, 152) city runner-up.

Outlook
"We try to wrestle a harder schedule than most of the teams in CPS.  Our record doesn’t reflect how successful our kids have been,” said MacFarland. “We should do very well this year. We are led by a solid senior class. We will compete to win our conference with Lane Tech. Amundsen and Uplift should be in the mix. Mather, Lane, Kelly and Bowen should be the top four teams in the city this year.”

 

Today's Schedule: Season Schedule