Burlington Central coach Vince Govea hovered around the Rockets while guiding BC’s middle school program the past six seasons, offering tutelage during spring camps and the state series.
Shortly after ascending the varsity ranks to replace Tony Rigitano this winter, Govea embraced a newfound, unique view of his athletes.
“Just to see where they started with me to see where they’re finishing has been a tremendous thing,” Govea said. “Really, I’ve always known the kids, I’ve always kind of been there. It’s just been nice to take them through a regular season and watch them be successful and do the things they do.”
Central has navigated its share of inexperience and injuries this season while fielding a handful of standout individuals in its lineup.
Senior 132-pounder Brady Weinrich enters Saturday’s quad with Rochelle, Hampshire and Springfield Southeast with 99 career victories. One more win would make him the fourth centurion in program history.
“He’s pretty much the heart of our team,” Govea said. “He’s looking to be downstate and hopefully getting on the medal stand.”
Sophomore Craig Kein holds the same February aspirations at 170 as his stellar varsity debut continues. Kein wrestled for Govea in sixth, seventh and eighth grade but was unable to make the varsity lineup last season. Recent graduate Omar Awad, an eventual 2A state semifinalist who placed fourth in state at 170 last season, wouldn’t budge.
Kein has steeled himself by wrestling extensively in the spring, adding muscle and match experience.
“We’re interested to see where the season takes him,” Govea said. “We’re thinking he can be really successful.”
Kein won last week’s Harvard Tournament and was second in the Sterling Tournament earlier this season.
Castelvecchi on the move
Geneva senior Tony Castelvecchi climbed from 130 pounds as a freshman to 145 as a sophomore. He split time between 152 and 160 last season, and now is wrestling at 160 and 170.
Castelvecchi has seen four-year contributors stick around one weight class, but he has no regrets about his path or progression.
“There’s a lot of tough kids who do that. They end up just getting stronger but staying the same weight,” Castelvecchi said. “And that’s a good thing. But I’ve tried to lift a lot and gain a good amount of weight.”
Vikings coach Tom Chernich calls Castelvecchi’s toughness his biggest constant. Wherever he has competed in the lineup, Castelvecchi has been a motivational force both vocally and by example.
“I’ve kind of taken in a lot over the last few years from coaches and my fellow wrestlers, really anyone,” Castelvecchi said. “I try to do the best I can, especially since it’s my last year.”
IN THE GROOVE
St. Charles East, Sr., 106 pounds
What he did: Rubino captured the 106-pound title at this weekend’s Palatine Berman Invitational, helping the Saints finish third in the 27-team field.
Batavia, Sr., 126 pounds
What he did: Shump pinned each of his six opponents at the DeKalb Don Flavin Invite over the weekend, scoring three falls each on Friday and Saturday. Teammates Jon Wagner (160) and Connor McKeehan (220) also went 6-0, with McKeehan notching five falls during the event.
WHAT WE LEARNED LAST WEEK Batavia is plenty deep. Every Bulldog had at least one victory in the six-match DeKalb Don Flavin Invite, led by Joey Shump, Jon Wagner and Connor McKeehan, who each went 6-0. Charlie Smorczewski (five wins) wasn’t far behind, while Michael Doranski and Noah Frazier – who swung between 182 and 195 pounds – scored four victories each.
WHAT WE’LL LEARN IN THE WEEK AHEAD Whether Marmion can keep building on its success in elite tournaments. The Cadets are set to compete in this weekend’s traditionally-challenging Cheesehead Tournament in Wisconsin, keeping pace with a tough schedule. Last month, Marmion finished eighth at the Walsh Ironman in Ohio and fourth at Harlem’s Dvorak Tournament.
COACH SLY SEZ
Man, did the calendar turn already? Seems like just the other day they were getting Wredling ready for the annual East-North clash that traditionally starts the wrestling season around here.
Well, no matter. That just means we’re even closer to state series time, when seasons can start and finish during the span of a combination flurry.
There certainly are some stellar athletes with big seasons going so far, but January and February have been known to produce dark horses, too.
Here’s to finding out who those young men are in the next few weeks. Sly definitely won’t let that pass him by.