Wrestling ends regular season ranked 22

WHS wrestling has finished the 2014-2015 season with a record of 23-3, an achievement that has also earned the Wildcats a 22nd ranking of all class 3A wrestling teams in the state of Illinois. As a team, the Wildcats have had one of their most successful seasons in several years, according to Neal Weiner, head werstling coach. “I believe that this year sets the stage for us to be one of the better teams in Illinois in the next few seasons,” Weiner said. On Jan. 31, the Wildcats took 6th out of 13 teams at the MSL meet, a result they hope to improve upon in the coming weeks as the Regional, Sectional and State meets approach. “In the MSL meet, the team results were good but not as great as we had planned,” Ricky Muro, senior, said. “Even though it wasn’t exactly what we wanted, there is always something good you can take out of the negative. We had some big matches that were key for us to win, and even the freshmen stepped up for us and wrestled great.” Muro placed second in the MSL tournament. “I lost to a Conant kid ranked first in the whole state who is undefeated, but it was a good experience to get great competition like that,” Muro said. “I am disappointed I lost yet I am happy at the same time because I get to wrestle the best guys out there which will only make me better for my other opponents.” All season, the varsity wrestling team has been supported by very successful freshmen and JV teams. The JV team placed 4th out of 12 teams at the MSL meet. The freshman team finished undefeated with a record of 18-0, and the sophomore team had one blemish with a record of 17-1. “Success is firing on all cylinders,” Weiner said. “The future of Wheeling wrestling looks very bright because of the success our lower levels have had.” A major reason for the success of the team has been a very experienced coaching staff, according to Weiner. “With coaches like Nick Blackshaw, JP Akouri, Max Smith and Joe Raupp, I think we have one of if not the best coaching staffs in the conference,” Weiner said. Coming into this season, the Wildcats had definite goals set for the 2014-2015 season, and those goals have not faltered since then. One of those goals was to win the regional tournament, according to Johny Carvajal, senior. “In the beginning of the season, we strived as a team to win the division and if possible win the conference, and to also win our regional so we could make it to team-sectional,” Carvajal said. “With several changes to the team we still believe that our pursuit for the regional championship is in reach, as long as we all wrestle to our full potential.” With regionals approaching, the Wildcats hope to be wrestling their best coming into the tournament. “We are still determined to win the regionals and to just really wrestle great individually and leaving everything out there on the mat with no regrets,” Muro said. Like Muro, Weiner remains very optimistic about the team’s chances at the regional tournament. “Wheeling wrestling has won nine regional championships in the past, and this year we are very capable of adding a 10th,” Weiner said. According to Muro, this season has been filled with many successes, and is one of the best Wheeling wrestling seasons in his time at WHS. “It’s such an honor to be apart of this wrestling team and I wouldn’t change anything,” Muro said. “We have grown so much since I started as a freshman and it just shows that hard work really does pay off because now we are one of the top teams in the state and we are ranked to prove that.” Muro continued, “Now that we are in the postseason, many guys have grown much more mature and know what is is that we have to do in order to be successful.” The regional tournament takes place on Feb. 7 at Glenbrook South.-Patrick Ryan