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Druley: New strength coach pushes Marmion wrestling

Although falls and technical falls often expedite matters, wrestlers ultimately train to be six-minute men.

At Marmion, building the stamina to attack throughout the duration of a regulation match comes 46 minutes at a time.

When new Marmion strength and conditioning coach Mark Holstein arrived from rival Montini this season, Cadets coach Ryan Cumbee quickly quizzed him on the length of the Broncos’ usual weight workouts.

“Forty-five minutes,” came the answer, prompting Cumbee’s one-upsman pledge of 46.

Cumbee admitted to “minimal” concentration on strength and conditioning in the earlier stages of his career. The former Providence assistant is in his second season guiding the Cadets.

“That was probably a downfall of ours last year; we didn’t continue to build on their strength and conditoning last year,” Cumbee said. “Were they well conditioned? Yeah, because all we did was wrestle. But this year is different. [Holstein] has these kids pushing themselves to the point of exhaustion, and it’s great.”

Marmion produced two state champions among its four place-winners in 2012-13, its first season in Class 3A. The Cadets enjoyed the same podium success the year before in their Class 2A swan song.

Even as Marmion emerged as a state force under since-departed coach Dean Branstetter, Montini never buckled as a roadblock in the Suburban Christian Conference race and team dual state tournament.

The Cadets’ leap from 2A to 3A last season created space for both programs to wreak havoc in different corners of the state series. Montini earned it sixth straight team state title – five in 2A – while Marmion finished as 3A runners-up to Sandburg.

Adding Holstein to the staff wasn’t any kind of coup, just a move that added a wrinkle – beefed-up strength – to an established power.

“He fits right in,” Cumbee said. “He’s pushing these kids hard and we’re going 46 minutes a day with him.”

Ties bind Batavia football title: Batavia figures to salute its Class 6A state football championship for some time, and why not? The team title is the school’s first since the boys basketball program won it all during the Taft Administration.

Bulldogs players undoubtedly created a wealth of lifetime memories during the run, but the breakthrough also resonated with a coaching staff filled with Batavia alumni.

Among them: assistant Sean Ramsey, a starting offensive tackle for Batavia’s 6A state runner-up in 2006.

“He’s the only guy in the whole group that got to play in one [state championship game] and got to coach in one,” said Batavia offensive coordinator Mike Gaspari, the Bulldogs’ head coach from 1985 to 2010.

Dig Waubonsee’s digs: Construction for Waubonsee Community College’s 59,000-square foot fieldhouse is set to begin at 2 p.m. today in a ceremonial groundbreaking at Erickson Hall on the school’s Sugar Grove campus, Route 47 at Waubonsee Drive.

The facility, expected to open in early 2015, will support the Chiefs’ athletic programs, physical education courses, wellness instruction and general recreation for students and the community.

• Kevin Druley is a sportswriter for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or Follow him on Twitter at

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