Evanston’s wrestlers couldn’t find a finishing touch Saturday at the Central Suburban League tournament held at Vernon Hills.
Now the Wildkits have two weeks to work on it.
Coach Rudy Salinas’ squad mustered only two wins in the final round of competition and settled for four runner-up individual finishes on their way to an overall fifth place showing in the team standings in a competition held for the first time since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. No spectators were allowed at Saturday’s event.
Deerfield dominated the team standings with 281.5 points, followed by New Trier (218.5), Glenbrook South (210), Maine South (204), Evanston (190), Vernon Hills (136), Highland Park (83), Maine West (72), Maine East (45), Glenbrook North (35), Niles North (20) and Niles West (9).
Jason McDermott (132 pounds), Sam Adeoye (170), Sheldon Kinzer (220) and David Sanchez (285) all advanced to the finals for ETHS but couldn’t produce an individual title.
McDermott, who scored a wild 17-13 victory in the semifinals against Highland Park’s Nate Ferrari after trailing 11-7 entering the final period, was pinned in a quick 41 seconds by Deerfield’s Renzo Morgan in the 132-pound finale.
Adeoye lost via fall to Deerfield’s Aiden Cohen in 1:33, Kinzer suffered only his fourth loss of the season when New Trier sophomore Ty Stringer scored a 12-3 major decision against him, and Sanchez was pinned by Vernon Hills’ once-beaten standout, Max Acceturra, in 62 seconds.
The Wildkits also counted third place finishes from Ladel Allen (182) and Anthony Joyner (195), while Tyler Bear (106), Marco Terrezzi (113) and Massimo Terrezzi (126) contributed fourths.
“We only won two of 10 matches in that final round, so we fell short of finishing on a good note,” Salinas said. “And that’s the medal round that usually means whether or not you’re going to advance from the regional to the sectional, or from the sectional to state, so that’s something we have to work on over the next two weeks.
“If today will make them a little salty and will help motivate them in practice, that’s great, that’s how we’ll use it. We need to wrestle with a little more conviction, a little more emotion than we did today.”
Kinzer, now 26-4, leads the Wildkits in victories this season now that he has resumed competing at 220 instead of heavyweight, as he did last year. He advanced to the finals by scoring falls against Breaden Manogura of Niles West (1:21) and Kevin Halley of Vernon Hills (3:21).
”Now he’s a little more seasoned and he’s at a more appropriate weight, but he’ll have to figure some things out,” Salinas said. “We’re hoping he can execute when it counts and make it to state. “I thought Sam [Adeoye] wrestled well, too, he just ran into a real good wrestler in the finals. But our other guys were left wanting.”