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Deerfield's Jordan Lieberman pins Vernon Hills' Jordan Reich during a meet at Deerfield High School, on Wednesday, November 23, 2011. | Ruthie Hauge ~ Sun-Times Media
Jordan Lieberman is taking both of his roles more seriously this season.
First, as Deerfield’s 113-pound wrestler, his match record is 23-3 on the season. The senior is a significant reason the Warriors have a 19-2 record this season, which includes Saturday’s win over 2A power Yorkville at the Waubonsie Valley Mega Duals.
With some high-performance athletes, motivation comes from an adverse moment. A one-point loss in the second round of the Class 3A regionals as a junior last year did not sit well with Lieberman.
“It was the worst feeling I could have had,” said Lieberman, who stands 5-foot-7. “It was something I never wanted to have happen again.”
So he set out to ensure he’d have better results. From March until the end of summer, he wrestled in 92 matches in open tournaments all over the state. He worked on his stance, which was too high as a junior, making him susceptible to takedowns. By getting lower, Lieberman also put himself in a more offensive position, allowing him to change up his shots and keep his opponents off-balance.
At the Barrington Quad on Dec. 15, Lieberman revealed his new normal. In a 5-2 victory over the Broncos, he was low and aggressive, an early sign that he was applying all he had learned over the spring and summer.
“I came in aggressive and try to outwork my opponent as much as I could,” Lieberman said. “I knew as a senior, this could be my last chance to wrestle ever.”
That leads to Lieberman’s other role. Deerfield’s recent success — four consecutive Central Suburban League championships — is in large part due to veteran wrestlers coaching newbies. As an underclassman, Lieberman was tutored by upperclassmen Christian and Kevin Hoogheem, Sam Tortorella and Jack Eisman, all of whom have graduated.
If you were to attach Greek mythology figures to this year’s Warriors team, Lieberman would play the part of Mentor, and freshman Andrew Mehrholz that of Telemachus, the youthful lighting bolt.
A 106-pound talent, Merholz is ranked in his weight class by the Chicago Sun-Times.
“They push each other and really get after it in practice,” coach Marc Pechtel said. “His (Lieberman’s) role this year was to become a leader and captain and mentor to (Andrew).”
Whether it be sparring, climbing rope or conditioning, the two are inseparable during grueling Deerfield practice sessions. Mehrholz came into the program with a decorated resume, having wrestling in national freestyle tournaments. But he is a sponge around the program, soaking up as much data as he can in daily sessions with Lieberman and junior Joey Bloom.
“It’s definitely (given me) confidence. Going out there and thinking you can beat anybody no matter who he is,” said Merholz, who stands 5-4. “It’s all about you and not really caring who’s on the mat. Every day I do (learn something).”
And Lieberman, the cagy veteran, is wise enough to understand the roles can be reversed.
“He’s a great wrestler. Its not like I’m out there telling him what to do. He helps me with my stuff,” Lieberman said. ~.