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East pins North in early-season dual wrestling meet

ST. CHARLES – Wednesday night’s Upstate Eight Conference River Division dual wrestling meet between St. Charles North and St. Charles East produced few competitive matches, which shouldn’t be too surprising considering the North Stars are rebuilding under a new head coach and the Saints enter the season with high expectations.

East won seven of the eight contested matches on North’s home mat to roll to a 71-6 victory.

One of the wrestlers the Saints are counting on to perform at a high level this season is senior Isaiah Vela. The 138-pounder is ranked third in Class 3A by the Illinois Matmen website and he opened his 2013-14 campaign by pinning North’s Jake Chantos in 2 minutes, 50 second.

“The first match, you’ve always got to get the jitters out,” Vela said. “Overall, I thought I did pretty good. I thought the team did pretty good. We were looking strong, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”

East also got pins from Anthony Rubino (113), Ryan Valesh (132), Jake Mende (145) and Blake Fialka (182).

“I thought we wrestled aggressive,” East coach Jason Potter said. “That’s kind of the way we want to start our year. We have some talented kids, but we need to make sure we go out and perform day in and day out. Our goal as a team is every time we go out on the mat that we are the most aggressive, most offensive team out on the mat. I think they did that tonight.”

The most entertaining match of the night came at 152 pounds. East’s Jason Weber built a 13-2 lead on Chad Reynolds, but Reynolds fought back with a reversal and a pair of near falls in the third period to pull within 13-10. Weber was finally able to get out of trouble with a reversal and hung on for a 17-10 decision.

The only other match that didn’t end with a pin was at 126. Austin Hrubec was an 8-3 victor for the Saints over Ray Rushing.

“I thought Austin Hrubec did a really good job,” Potter said. “He wrestled hard. … You could tell he wasn’t feeling 100 percent, but he was able to grind through it.”

North’s only victory came from 106-pounder Kolbe O’Brien, who pinned Joe Ruffino in 1:45. It was the second fall in as many nights for the freshman.

“I think it’s starting out pretty well,” O’Brien said of his season. “[Ben Hummel] is a good coach. He works us hard.”

Hummel is in his first season directing the North program.

“I thought the kids went out and did their best, wrestled hard,” Hummel said. “We’re just young. We’ve got a long ways to go.”

The North Stars (1-1) forfeited six matches, including every match above 152 pounds except one.

“In our upper weights, it’s something we’re going to have to deal with right now,” Hummel said. “We don’t have any seniors. We’re rebuilding and we’re not going to be able to fill those upper weight classes right now.”

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