Fenwick wanted a test and Fenwick got one when the Friars traveled to Wheaton North for a quad on Saturday. Providence, Joliet Township and Wheaton North are all ranked in the top 15 in the state, and their dominance showed against Fenwick.
The Friars (16-4) lost 52-9 to Providence, 40-19 to Joliet Township, and 37-18 to Wheaton North, but head coach Jerry Ruffino took the losses as a positive.
"It's what we needed," he said. "You think you're doing so well and then boom you go up against some of the more competitive teams in the state and you get your butt kicked. It's an awakening. We're not as good as we think we are; we need to improve."
The Friars, who were coming off 15 straight wins before the quad, did have some bright spots in the rout. The team only allowed four pins in the entire tournament.
"Bring on mediocrity," declared Ruffino of the mark.
Nick Bertucci and Matt Harmon swept through the weekend. Bertucci (135-pound weight class, 29-4) defeated Fitzen Reider of Wheaton North, and forced a fall in a win over his Joliet Township opponent. Bertucci defeated Providence's Ron Mercer 11-4.
Harmon (160, 23-7) scored a win over Providence's John Drabach 8-7. He forced a fall on Kevin Short of Joliet Catholic at 1:59, and defeated Wheaton North's Luke Gordon 9-6.
The Friars did better overall in a 37-25 victory over De La Salle on Friday.
Winners included sophomore Pat Nolan (103) with a 3-1 decision; Zach Stafford (112) 8-3; Bertucci (135) by fall at 3:28; Nick Marino (140) 13-2; Eric Gough (152) 4-0; Harmon (160) 17-0; Eric Dardanes (140) fall at 5:23; Dan Kurtz (215) 9-1; and Carmen Curio (heavyweight) 8-4.
Fenwick's schedule lets up a bit this week as the Friars travel to Gordon Tech on Friday and Maine West for a quad on Saturday.
"The quad on Saturday I'm expecting won't be as demanding," said Ruffino. "We can't wrestle Providence every week."
Dardanes, Ruffino said, will sit out this week to recover from a bout with the flu.
"I need him healthy, and that's what matters," said Ruffino.
Ruffino said he and his team are looking forward to matches against St. Rita and Neuqua Valley, two of the state's powerhouses, as well as cross-town rival OPRF. The Friars take on St. Rita and Neuqua Valley on Jan. 27, and OPRF on the 28th.
Fenwick is also preparing to host a State regional this season, where the Friars will again see OPRF, along with Proviso East, St. Patrick, Orr, Austin, and Kelvin Park.