By Pat Galeher ‘22
On Friday, Feb. 25, the Crusader mat men were defeated by the tough Mahomet Seymour team. This marked the first Brother Rice appearance at the annual IHSA team state dual tournament. Although the Crusaders ended their season with a loss, that does not take away from their memorable season.
At the beginning of the season, not many people expected this team to make it as far as they did. Obstacles included missing a head coach, many young faces, and the football team making it to the semifinals which forced four starting wrestlers to join late. The Crusaders certainly exceeded these expectations by winning regionals, sectionals and sending a school record of nine wrestlers downstate.
After nearly defeating Oak Forest that Tuesday, Brother Rice had two days to prepare for team state on Friday. Excitement ran through the Crusaders when they realized they’ve just made history. The team was still determined to win downstate.
Senior Captain Nate Chirillo said, “It’s great that our team has made it down, but I want all of our names on a plaque after we place at state.” Nate wrestled through a painful knee injury and racked in a win for the Crusaders.
Some of the wrestlers already wrestled downstate and felt that level of pressure. Others didn’t get the chance to wrestle in individual state and wanted to redeem themselves.
Senior Pat Galeher said, “Team state was a great opportunity for me to feel what I should have felt the week prior. Wrestling on the IHSA mats made me feel better about myself. There’s nothing I loved more than fighting with my brothers downstate.”
Senior Jim Hogan said, “Even though we didn’t finish the job, we still had an outstanding season. What a great way to end my career.”
The future seems bright for the Crusader matmen. Hopefully this success can carry on through years to come.