St. Charles East, Junior, Wrestling
Why he was selected: Won Saturday’s Upstate Eight Conference title at 160 pounds by fall, the second straight year Lopez has been a conference champion.
Ramon Lopez was the lone Saint among six conference champions to win by fall in the championship round of Saturday’s UEC Meet, defeating Waubonsie Valley’s Mason Kroening at 160 pounds. Lopez’s father, also named Ramon, was an accomplished wrestler in his day at Streamwood High School. Lopez, this week’s Kane County Chronicle-St. Charles Bank & Trust Athlete of the Week, spoke with Chronicle sports editor Jay Schwab about his strong conference showing and the upcoming postseason. The following is an edited transcript:
So how proud are you of going back-to-back at conference?
… Growing up, my dad was a wrestler in the conference, too, so it was a big deal last year. He knows a lot of the coaches. He went to high school with a lot of guys who are coaches around here, like Streamwood and South Elgin, so it meant a lot to him and it was really cool to come back this year and try to repeat it again.
Tell me a little about the championship match Saturday.
He came in, and I had a lot of my teammates in front of me and that got me really excited because going in all year with the dual meets and everything, we knew we had a really strong middle of the lineup. … I knew Neuqua was right on our butts in the team race, so I knew I had to go out there and try to get some bonus points like I did in the semifinals.
How much momentum do you feel like you have going into regionals now?
It’s a lot of momentum because we knew this would be kind of a really good gauge on how we do at regionals because it’s pretty much the same tournament minus a couple of teams and of course adding Glenbard North. … Coming into this tournament we know we’d be able to carry it into regionals, hopefully.
If you had to pick one teammate to help you with some tricky homework, who would it be and why?
I’d have to say probably Vinny Mugnolo, even though he’s injured, or Jason Weber, who’s in and out of the lineup, too. I know that they’re pretty smart in school, too, and I know they’d help out a lot, and they’re always there with some witty comments here and there, and always helping us out on and off the mat.