St. Charles East wrestler Isaiah Vela ended his freshman season as the fourth-place 119-pound wrestler at the IHSA Class 3A state tournament. Two years later, the Saints junior is in position to place third, as he prepares for today’s wrestleback quarterfinal against Johnny Gosinski of Glenbard North.
After winning Thursday’s preliminary match at the University of Illinois’ Assembly Hall, Vela lost a 3-0 decision to Marmion senior George Fisher in Friday’s quarterfinals, then rallied to beat Kevin Conrad of Barrington, 6-2, in his first wrestleback match.
Kane County Chronicle sports reporter Kevin Druley caught up with Vela at Assembly Hall for this week’s edition of the Weekend Chit-chat. The following is an edited transcript:
You’re still alive to place in a loaded bracket. How do you feel about where you are?
I had a tough loss in the quarterfinals but I’m just focused on my next match [today] and hopefully getting that first win. … Me and coach [Jason Potter] talked about who my opponents are and stuff, they’re pretty tough, but we’ve got to keep focus on [today] and winning that first match.
What was the difference in the Fisher match?
He took me down, got a 3-0 lead. I couldn’t get out, get off my back, and that was pretty much the match. … It was 0-0 after the first and then at the end of the second it was 3-0.
There was a little history between you and Fisher there, right?
I was on the same team with him when I was little, but I never really wrestled him. It was St. Charles North [Youth Wrestling].
[Geneva’s] Brad Martens and a lot of Marmion’s lower-weight guys came from SCN, too. How well do you know them?
Yeah, I know the Marmion guys pretty well, actually. I grew up wrestling with them. They’re old friends, you know.
What’s the morale among the whole East group at this point?
We had four qualifiers, and the other three got out, unfortunately. I’ve got a couple partners here, helping me do what I’ve got to do to stay in shape.
Huff Hall, where the Illini wrestlers compete, is open to the high school wrestlers this weekend. Is that a nice luxury?
That’s a good place. Nice and warm. You get a good sweat.