A lot can change in one year. The ETHS wrestling team has found that out the hard way. Last season, the Wildkits went 28-5 overall and placed second in the Regionals. This year, after a loss to Maine South on Dec. 18, the Wildkits have a 3-15 record in dual meets. The team’s only wins have come against Ida Crown, Gordon Tech and Antioch, none of which are ranked teams.
One key thing affecting their team standing is the Kits only have ten wrestlers (out of 14 weight classes) in their line-up due to injuries, holdouts and other issues.
“The team is doing a lot worse then expected,” said senior Ethan James. “We had some seniors that we expected to return who decided not to wrestle and there aren’t as many juniors and sophomores wrestling as we expected.”
The Kits hope they will get stronger once senior captain Marcus Lang returns from injury after Christmas; he will take on other wrestlers in the 140-pound or 145-pound weight class.
The goals for the remainder of the year are “to be competitive and be better in February than we were in November,” said head coach Rudy Salinas. The Regional playoffs begin on Feb. 7.
In order for the Kits to return to where they last season, they are counting on senior captains Carl Romm, Ethan James, and Trevor Fero to carry much of the load down the stretch.
“Jeffrey Brown has earned a lot of respect around the league,” added Coach Salinas. As of Dec. 17,the junior heavyweight was 17-1 in his matches. Another solid young grappler to keep an eye out for is junior Hector Rivera. “He is putting in a really good year,” said the coach.
The Kits have a number of individual standouts in addition to Brown. As of Dec. 18, James (who won an individual championship at Regionals and went 34-4 last year) was 16-0 in the 160-weight class. Also, Romm, Fero and sophomore Andre Laden all have winning records.
After Christmas, the Kits have upcoming meets on Dec. 29 and 30 when they participate in the Mid-States Wrestling Classic at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. From there they return home to compete in the Evanston Quad on Jan. 3. After that they travel to Waukegan for a match on Jan. 9.
Once the Kits get back to full strength with a full lineup, they should be able to turn their record around and have a good showing at Regionals and beyond, once again.