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Foes will know Mundelein's Dominguez this year


By Mike Garofola

Eduardo Dominguez was lost at the 2008 Class AA state tournament among the star-studded cast at 112 pounds, and the large Champaign contingent from the North Suburban Conference.

But the then Mundelein junior built a head of steam in the final weeks of the season and exploded inside Champaign's Assembly Hall for a fifth-place finish. Along with Izzy Montemayer (Grant), the duo were the lone North Suburban Conference wrestlers to gain a coveted spot on the medal stand.

Dominguez (41-8 last season) needed to be at his best during a typical grueling second-day of championship competition at the tournament, where his hope and desire to medal meant three-to-four more matches.

Dominguez wrestled three to make a memory.

After a second-round defeat to eventual third-place medalist Keith Surber (O'Fallon) sent Dominguez into the backdraw, the two-year varsity veteran took an exciting 7-5 overtime victory over Stephen Murphy (Marian). Another heart-stopping win, this time an 8-7 victory against Joe Schwartz (Highland Park), kept him in the medal chase.

Surber's prior victory bumped Dominguez into the 5th-place bout with Mascoutah's best, Kent Williams. The Libertyville Regional champ attacked Williams from the onset in a 12-6 rout.

"Eduardo never dwells on a defeat," said Mundelein head coach Tom Buenik. "He just puts it behind him immediately and gets himself back on track and ready for the next match ahead of him." It's one of the things about Eduardo that you have
to admire.

"He never reads about or studies an opponent. He's mentally very strong. He does so well because he's a tough kid who is just fearless when he steps onto the mat."

Buenik had to wonder what he was getting three years ago, when the then freshman had a short stay at Mundelein before transferring to Vernon Hills for the rest of the school year.

Back at Mundelein for his sophomore year, Dominguez was able to get his personal and academic life in order. After that, the sport he loves so much, began to pay dividends to him personally and to the Mustangs' program.

"Eduardo is a terrific role model for our program, for the Latino's who wrestle and those outside of our room as well," said Buenik. "He became a top-shelf student, and now, the same as a wrestler."

Dominguez' is proud of how things have worked out.

"I knew all along that if I worked harder than everybody else, that I could do some very good things (here) at Mundelein, and someday place at the state tournament," said Dominguez, who in 2007 advanced to the state tournament with a 27-10 record, but was eliminated after an opening-round 7-3 loss to Benny Marti of Montini. "I was so nervous that first year I was in Champaign.

"I thought I knew what was coming with the big crowd and all of the cheering and noise that goes on. But that first-round loss made me work even harder, and wanting to do better for myself and coach Buenik."

A one-point loss to Libertyville's Louis Mazzetta in the 112-pound NSC championship bout provided the inspiration Dominguez needed for later success IN 2008. Sweet revenge came a week later as a well-deserved 8-1 regional championship victory against Mazzetta. The win gave the Mustang a much-needed better seed at the rugged Barrington Sectional.

There Dominguez cruised into the final with a major decision over Glenbrook South's Seth Hirsch. That moved him into the final against freshman phenom Luke Smith of Wheeling. Smith, flying higher than any other at the weight, recorded a fall
just 42 seconds into the title match.

"Obviously, Eduardo made a big mistake against a very talented wrestler, and paid for it," said Buenik. "But true to form, he didn't let it bother him because he came back bigger and better the next weekend in Champaign."

This season Dominguez knows he won't be surprising opponents like he did a year ago. But he looks forward to the challenge ahead and opportunity of a repeat of last season, or perhaps a better result.

"I feel my strength is I am really good on top and on my feet, and that's what you see a lot of at the state tournament," he said. "I worked on my (singles) all throughout the off-season and know what it takes to get to the state tournament and be successful once you're there. All I can do is give it my best."


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