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Fremd's Cody Hauser upends Dundee-Crown's Tim Schammier during the 160-pound semi-final match of the Harvard Wrestling Invitational on Saturday, December 15, 2012. | Michele du Vair~For Sun-Times Media
Zach Zenger and his fellow Huntley wrestling teammates wanted a change.
After years of being unnoticed and a non-contender, the senior — along with Red Raiders wrestling coach BJ Bertelsman — put forth a more consistent effort, logged more hours training and spent a lot of time in the weight room.
“[The seniors] got a lot of young guys who were wrestling club for a long time, and they’re really interested in the sport,” Zenger said. “They’re really putting a lot of work in practice and we’re getting better.”
The culture shift for Huntley started to show on the mat Saturday, as it placed first overall and earned the wrestling program its first varsity championship at the 46th annual Harvard John Sciacca-Richard Holtfreter Wrestling Tournament.
The Red Raiders’ team score of 180 edged out Round Lake, which finished with a team score of 168.50. Glenbard North rounded out the top three with 146 points.
“This is a pretty big shocker for us,” Bertelsman said. “Our kids are happy, surprised — and I think all of them had a good time.”
Bertelsman credited Zenger and fellow senior Brandon Mabry for their efforts in their respective weight classes. Zenger finished with two major-decisions in the 113 class, and earned first place with a 13-3 victory over Glenbrook North’s Cesar Hernandez.
Yet Mabry needed to finish strong. With a comfortable lead heading into the 195 championship match, Bertelsman urged his senior to finish strong, as Round Lake started to catch up to the Red Raiders. Though it went to overtime, Mabry persevered with a 3-2 win over Johnsburg’s Christian Nugent.
“He didn’t look pretty doing it, but he stuck to his game plan, and the other kid couldn’t keep up with him,” Bertelsman said.
The aggressive style of Round Lake helped earn it a second place finish. A plethora of pins and eight wrestlers finishing in the top 10 helped the Panthers stand out Saturday.
But it was sophomore Nick Moore who garnered the most attention from his school. Moore wrestled in the 145-weight class, and said he should have been in 132, but that didn’t stop him from taking the championship in his weight class.
“Most of the guys were bigger than me — more muscular,” Moore said. “So I had to use headlocks a lot to help me win the championship.”
The heavyweight match at 285 pounds between Johnsburg’s Brandon Boyle and Harvard’s Adam Freimund lived up to its billing. The two giants grappled and tussled into overtime, until Freimund came out on top with a 3-2 victory.
It wasn’t the first encounter between Freimund and Boyle, though. Freimund said he defeated Boyle twice last season, but he knew that both he and his opponent had grown mentally and physically as wrestlers since then.
“I knew it was going to come down to the nitty-gritty,” Freimund said. “I knew it was going to come down to me (getting out of Boyle’s grapple), and that’s what it came down to.”