With their championship matches minutes away Saturday, Oak Forest’s Francis Edelen and Danny Swan paced the mats like caged animals.
Both juniors won their matches as Oak Forest cruised at Saturday’s South Suburban conference tourney at T.F. South. The Bengals piled up 262 points. Reavis, which finished second, tallied 139.5 points.
“We get so into it mentally because we know that each match, you never know what can happen,” Swan said. “You have to go out and put yourself in the right mindset. If you don’t, you could go out there and wrestle terribly.”
“The kids strive to be here competing for that conference title,” Oak Forest coach Shawn Forst said. “It’s a prestigious conference, great coaching and excellent competition. The kids look forward to it, and it’s a good look heading into regionals.”
Edelen, at 106 pounds defeated Tino Abarca of Reavis by a 17-0 technical fall.
“I wrestled Tino a couple weeks ago, won 3-1, and I felt it today,” Edelen said. “Last time I didn’t wrestle to my ability so I had to wrestle offensive. If I went at it, I knew I could do it.”
Swan followed Edelen up at 113 pounds with a 10-2 decision over Reavis’ Moe Sbitan. Oak Forest won the first four weight classes , Alan Durham (120) winning over Reavis’ Jesus Vasquez by a pin in 4:30 and Mousa Jodeh (126) winning by a 3-2 count over Reavis’ Kyle Galason.
Nick Graziano (195) rounded out Oak Forest’s five champions, winning a 5-4 decision over Shepard’s Jabari Jones.
“We out-dueled Reavis in those early matches,” Swan, the defending 2A state champ at 106 pounds, said. “I look at these matches as preparation for the state matches. I knew I had to bring my A-game.”
Leading second-place Reavis was Sam Almousa (138), who defeated T.F. South’s Jake Tisza by a 7-3 decision. For the senior, the first-place finish was pretty sweet after back-to-back second place finishes the last two seasons.
“I’ve been striving for this,” Almousa said. “To finally win, it’s a good feeling. It is that great, cheesy moment as a senior to win it. The game plan was to work my strengths, and we capitalized.”
Other champions included Tinley Park’s David McDonald (132, pin in 5:49) and Eric Schultz (170, 6-3 decision), Lemont’s Jimmy Brennan (145, 12-3 decision), Oak Lawn’s Ahmad Zain Al Dean (152, 3-2 decision) and Joe Robinson (160, 1-0 decision), T.F. South’s Tyrone Johnson (182, default), Richards’ Santiago Calderone (220, 9-7 decision) and Shepard’s Nathen Oquendo (285, pin in 2:38).
In the team standings, Tinley Park (124 points) finished third ahead of Oak Lawn (100), Shepard (95.50), T.F. South (95), Lemont (86), Bremen (73), Argo (71), Evergreen Park (64), Eisenhower (52), Hillcrest (51), Richards (38.5) and T.F. North (15).