Saturday’s Upstate Eight Conference title match loss to lower-seeded Anthony Touchstone of Waubonsie Valley didn’t dim Wes Pasholk’s view of his season to date. Really, the St. Charles North senior “can’t complain about anything” after starting 23-4 at 220 pounds.
“I feel loose this year, like I’m actually able to open up and do stuff. I’m actually in there in close matches with really good guys,” Pasholk said. “I have confidence this year, finally.”
Pasholk started the climb by advancing to sectionals last season, and hopes an accelerated offseason training program can help propel him to the state tournament this winter. A three-sport athlete at North – he’s a two-way lineman during football season and plays club rugby during the spring – Pasholk figures this is his final wrestling stretch run, so why not make it count.
Pasholk said he’s likely to pursue a collegiate rugby career at a school to be determined, following the path of older brother Colby, who was part of Arkansas State’s club team.
Over the weekend, Pasholk encountered another familiar face en route to a runner-up conference finish, defeating St. Charles Rugby teammate Peter Banks of St. Charles East, by 11-3 major decision in the quarterfinals.
“It was fun competition,” Pasholk said, “because we’re always joking back and forth about wrestling and stuff.”
Senior Dan Goress highlighted Kaneland’s fifth-place tie at the Northern Illinois Big 12 meet over the weekend by claiming the school’s lone individual title at 138 pounds.
Goress’ major decision victory against Dylan Foster of host Sycamore in the title bout continued an otherwise solid day for the Knights, who also boasted runners-up in Connor Williams (120), Esai Ponce (132) and Zach Theis (285).
“It’s addicting,” Goress said. “Everyone wants a piece of success.”
Goress, 30-3, has had his share so far. Knights coach Monty Jahns said Goress is “tremendously improved” since the start of the season, amping up his overall attack and ability to turn and pin opponents.
Kaneland has one more tune-up dual scheduled before regionals begin Feb. 1 – Friday’s visit to Batavia.
Geneva senior 120-pounder Brad Martens enters each bout with a concentrated plan, channeling a focus that has clicked more often than not during another successful season.
His recent hairstyle change was much more impulsive.
On Saturday, Martens repeated as Upstate Eight Conference champion using a similar resolve that helped steer him to the 3A state meet as a junior. Still, at least one thing was different: his mohawk.
“Me and my friends were just bored a couple weeks ago and thought about just doing it,” Martens said. “You forget you have it until you look in the mirror and then you see it. But no, it probably doesn’t give you an edge.”
IN THE GROOVE
St. Charles East, Sr., 113 pounds
What he did: Rubino won his third successive Upstate Eight Conference title over the weekend, this time striking at 113 pounds. Rubino’s younger brother, freshman Anthony Rubino, took second at 106. “We treat it like usual,” Ryan Rubino said. “Just another day, another match.”
What they did: Nearly led the host Bulldogs to a top-three team finish at the UEC meet despite three open weight classes. Batavia still was proud of its fourth-place standing in the unofficial team race, which was keyed by championships from seniors Joel Shump (34-0 at 126) and Jon Wagner (30-5 at 160).
WHAT WE LEARNED LAST WEEK St. Charles East can enjoy its perch atop the entire Upstate Eight. A few days after concluding a perfect run to the UEC River dual title, the Saints crowned a tournament-best three individual champs to roll to the unofficial team title at this weekend’s UEC meet. Champs Ryan Rubino (113), Isaiah Vela (132) and Ramon Lopez (152) are a combined 76-10. “Guys stayed real calm and had great composure,” Saints coach Jason Potter said.
WHAT WE’LL LEARN IN THE WEEK AHEAD How Marmion fares in its home finale against Oak Park-River Forest tonight. The Cadets, fresh off Friday’s dual victory against Clovis Buchanan (Calif.), traditionally test themselves against top competition from the state and nation. That trend continues against the Huskies, the defending runner-up from last season’s 3A team dual state tournament.
COACH SLY SAYS
Kaneland has talked about being a tournament team all season long.
The Knights delivered on that description over the weekend.
A squad that won only two regular-season duals during the NI Big 12 East season rallied to tie for fifth when both sides of the league came together for the conference meet in Sycamore.
With the state series on the horizon, the senior-laden Knights feel like they’re in a good place: within striking distance of more success.