GENEVA – St. Charles East 195-pound wrestler Keegan Furmanski finished his post-match running session Friday as teammate Peter Banks competed at 220 pounds.
Several paces behind them, East heavyweight Jose Flores stalked the Mack Olson Gym floor, preparing for his bout that would close the Upstate Eight Conference River Division dual.
Everywhere you looked, it seemed a Saint was on the move, a trend that emerged early in East’s 46-15 road victory against the Vikings.
“We just wanted to go out and make a statement because they’re in our conference, and we’ll probably see them again at the conference tournament,” said Banks, a senior. “We just want to go out hard and put people on their backs.”
While East (6-1, 3-0) notched falls at four weight classes – including Banks’ – its most impressive statistic was a 27-0 run to escape from a tight, 10-9, opening lead.
The Saints’ experience at the lower and middle weights produced the surge, which began with Ryan Valesh’s forfeit at 132 and ended when 170-pounder Cam Carlson scored a 9-2 decision against the Vikings’ Tony Castelvecchi.
Geneva snapped the skid with Cody Murphy’s takedown/near-fall flurry late in his 182-pound bout with Jordan Meadows. The Vikings (10-3, 1-2) followed with Jake Boser’s decision victory at 195, the final highlight of what they hoped would be more.
“Pretty hard to watch,” said Geneva senior Brad Martens, who won with a third-period fall at 120. “We got beat pretty bad tonight. I think we definitely could have wrested a lot better than what we did.”
Today’s Hoffman Estates Hawk Invite tournament gives the team a chance for a quick rebound.
“Just try to forget about this one, but not completely,” Martens said. “Learn from it. A lot of things like wrestling to the edges. If you’re winning, wrestle to the end, don’t stop short. Be prepared for matches. I take that responsibility, being a captain. Me and Boser. A lot of little things that add up. Definitely, we’ve got to start wrestling harder up in the room.”
East coach Jason Potter and Geneva counterpart Tom Chernich pointed to a handful of injuries that kept them from fielding full lineups.
The Saints have not used the same 14 wrestlers in consecutive duals all season, as depth and contributions from underclassmen have aided their early-season success.
East 106-pounder Anthony Rubino opened the dual with a 14-3 major decision against fellow freshman Steven MacDonald. Moments later, older brother Ryan Rubino notched a first-period fall at 113.
Both are the siblings of former Saints state champion Brandon Rubino, who now wrestles at Nebraska.
“It’s pretty nice,” Anthony Rubino said. “My brothers were starting when they were freshmen, so living up to the name, I guess.”
Flores, a sophomore whose older brother, Rafael, is a graduate of the program, ended the night with a close decision win.
With the Saints doing more lineup shuffling, his future at the heavyweight spot isn’t set, but for now, his contributions are just what East has needed.
“We’re moving in the right direction and we’re getting a lot of guys experience at the same time,” Potter said. “Once we get everything kind of secured, I think we’ll be real good.”