Evanston’s wrestlers haven’t won the Central Suburban League South division championship since back in 2004.
And if they’re going to accomplish that feat this year, the Wildkits are going to need some help after bowing to defending champion New Trier 36-32 in a key dual meet matchup Thursday night in Winnetka.
The Trevians handed ETHS (17-2 overall) only their 2nd loss of the season by scoring 4 pins and 4 wins via decisions. ETHS can still earn a share of the crown with victories over Glenbrook South and Niles West after the Christmas break and a New Trier loss to Maine South in the season finale.
But Kit head coach Rudy Salinas and his squad weren’t interested in sharing any piece of the championship pie this season.
“We don’t control it anymore, and a tie would only be a consolation prize for us,” Salinas said. “Now we’ll just try to improve our position in the conference and for the regional. That’s all we can control. Tonight it came down to execution, and some of our key seniors fell short. It happens. New Trier beat us, that’s all there is to it. If we find a way not to have so many falls against us, we could have won, but that was the story right there.
“They all wanted to win. It’s my job to see what they have to fix and help them do that. We are a good team, and we’ll look forward to our next opportunity to try to be a great team.”
Evanston’s David Rivera-Kohr and Malik Pratt maintained their unbeaten season records at 126 and 152 pounds, respectively. Rivera-Kohr (19-0) piled up the points in a 22-7 technical fall romp over New Trier’s Jack DeBlasio, and Pratt (15-0) scored a second period pin after falling behind 3-2 in his matchup with Jack Alcantara.
But another ETHS grappler, Ben Morton, suffered his first setback at 138 pounds and James Marshall-Davis lost for just the second time this season at 132. Marshall-Davis managed only an escape in a 6-1 loss to Northwestern-bound Alec McKenna, while Morton never got untracked versus Luke Iida and was pinned with 24 seconds left in the second period.
“I actually thought James wrestled extremely tough tonight, and he’ll learn from it,” Salinas said. “And I know as a captain that Ben holds himself accountable, but I also know he’ll bounce back. No one is harder on him than he is on himself.”
Evanston stayed alive when Zack Warhus scored a fall in 1 minute, 27 seconds against Charlie Conner at 182. But 195-pounder Deandre Shareef couldn’t avoid a pin with just one second remaining in the second stanza and that clinched the win for New Trier, although Brandon Bias (220) and Lamont Davenport (285) both racked up first period falls for ETHS in the last two matches.
Also earning a victory for the Wildkits was Derek Hunter by a 6-3 margin over Patrick Ryan at 113.