Reviving a past dynasty: South wrestling revisits winning culture

Junior+Andrew+Cervantes+tied+up+with+Joliet+West%27s+Eric+Davis-Smith+in+South%27s+auditorium.+Cervantes+currently+holds+a+24-9+record+in+the+126lb.+weight+class.
Junior Andrew Cervantes tied up with Joliet West's Eric Davis-Smith in South's auditorium. Cervantes currently holds a 24-9 record in the 126lb. weight class.

Junior Andrew Cervantes tied up with Joliet West's Eric Davis-Smith in South's auditorium. Cervantes currently holds a 24-9 record in the 126lb. weight class.

Junior Andrew Cervantes tied up with Joliet West's Eric Davis-Smith in South's auditorium. Cervantes currently holds a 24-9 record in the 126lb. weight class.

Jack Leach, Sports Editor

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Last year, South began the season as favorites to win their fourth consecutive conference title.

However, high hopes led to a large downfall, as the injury-plagued Cougars were dethroned from conference supremacy by the Panthers of Oswego.

“At any given time, we had 4-5 starters out of our lineup,” head coach Jason Acevedo said. “It’s really tough to win in this conference if you’re out that many starters, but the kids did a great job stepping up.”

Currently, the Cougars hold a 15-3 record (8-0 in conference), and the current depth on the roster will ensure that last year’s circumstances won’t be repeated.

“This year, we have a great mix of the younger class and some senior wrestlers that are spread out across the weight classes,” Acevedo said. “They’re really gelling well together, and definitely put a lot of work in this off-season.”

Rolando Ibarra, a sophomore who has made an impact at the junior varsity and varsity levels, speaks of the team’s chemistry.

“Everyone is dedicated,” Ibarra said. “These guys are like brothers to me. I can always count on them to help me whenever.”

According to Ibarra, the devotion that the coaches possess are the reason for this motivated type of environment.

“I heard the program was amazing, so I transferred here from Bolingbrook,” Ibarra said. “The coaches here strive to make the team better, whether it’s from the lower level all the way to varsity.”

Jake Kendall, currently the #8 wrestler at 152 lb. in the state, is one of many provided with a hefty training plan.

“The coaching staff has really pushed my training,” Kendall said. “They always push me during conditioning, and make me drill moves that I’m not comfortable with, so when it comes time to wrestle the top tier kids, I will have more in my arsenal.”

Kendall, a junior, is not only a piece of the Cougars’ current run, but an important key to South’s promising future.

“We’re definitely set up for years to come,” Acevedo said. “Being this young, we’ll have a lot of time, and a couple of years to develop the freshmen and sophomore class.”

 

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Reviving a past dynasty: South wrestling revisits winning culture