By Jack Mallon ‘22
The Crusader wrestling team started the season off strong in the first two meets. The Crusaders hosted Tinley Park and Manteno on Tuesday, Nov. 23. The Crusaders swept the competition as the varsity team started the season off 2-0. The next day they faced St. Laurence and Mt. Carmel at home. The Crusaders beat St. Laurence, but fell short to the Caravan.
This past weekend, the Crusaders faced off in their first tournament in two years. The varsity wrestling team participated in the annual Harvest Classic at Lake Central High School in Saint John, Indiana.
The tournament featured some of the best teams from all over Indiana and also gave the Crusaders a taste of different competition.
The Crusaders had a great showing with eight of the ten wrestlers placing in the tournament. The team finished fifth overall, but that does not show their effort.
In the history of the Harvest Classic, only nine wrestlers have won the tournament four consecutive times. Freshman Bobby Conway has the potential to be the 10th. Conway finished first place in the 120 pound weight class.
Senior Tommy Bennett finished first in the 170 pound weight class. Bennett recently completed off a great football season and moved right back into his forte of wrestling.
Bennett said, “Getting back into wrestling was very fun. Even though coming back to wrestling from football was tough, I wanted to take first place in that tournament. I took third as a sophomore, so I’m glad I could come back and finish the job.”
The Crusaders had two wrestlers that placed first, but there were a lot of others who still placed high in the tournament.
Sophomore James Bennett placed third in the 126 pound weight class. Senior Al Perez placed fifth in the 145 pound class. Freshman Jimmy Crane placed fourth in the 152 pound class. Senior Nate Chirillo placed second in the 160 pound class. Senior Colin Ashley placed fourth in the 182 pound class. And finally, freshman Gabino Perez placed fourth in the 220 pound class.
The young wrestling team has a lot of talent. The hard work they put in will show in the next few months of the season.
Nate Chirillo said, “I believe the team we have this year is more ambitious and willing to improve every day. In the past we have had a good team but it was missing a leadership role, and I think that this year we have leaders that want everyone to improve in and outside of the room.”
While the team still has a lot to prove, the tournament showed how talented this team is. This will surely be a season to look forward to for the Crusaders.