Hosting powerhouse wrestling programs like St. Rita and Neuqua Valley a week before the State regional doesn’t seem like such a great idea. And it didn’t turn out so well for Fenwick on Saturday. The Friars fell to No. 2-ranked St. Rita 54-12, and fifth-ranked Neuqua Valley 49-18, but head coach Jerry Ruffino is optimistic his team will be ready to go when Fenwick hosts the Oak Park Regional on Saturday (9 a.m.).

“Sometimes lopsided losses such as this can have a unique effect on teams. This is the sort of group that will take such a bad loss and turn it around, use it as motivation against our regional opponents.”

Fenwick’s toughest opponent at the regional looks to be cross-town rival OPRF, who defeated the Friars 36-26 in a regular season match a few weeks ago.

“OPRF has very good wrestlers, but they are not St. Rita or Neuqua Valley,” said Ruffino. “We do stand a chance against them. We went head-to-head earlier in the year with them and proved we matchup real well across the board. We’re actually the underdogs this year, so it’ll no doubt be interesting.”

Fenwick did have some success on Saturday. Billy Barnhisal defeated Mike Nolan of St. Rita to win the 171-pound weight division, while Pat Hanlon (130-pound weight class) outwrestled Don Graham 5-0. Against Neuqua Valley, Carmen Curio won at heavyweight by forcing a fall. Bobby Barnhisal defeated fifth-ranked Matt Walters 10-5 to win at 112 pounds. Zack Stafford defeated Mike Zozulia 6-4 to win at 119 pounds.

Despite the lopsided loss, Ruffino wasn’t disappointed in his team.

“We were very upfront with the team going into the match,” said Ruffino. “We told them we weren’t going to win, but to just give their best effort. And I feel that they did give their best effort.”

Huskies finish third at WSC Meet

The OPRF gymnastics team finished third overall at the West Suburban (Silver) Conference Meet held at York on Friday. The Huskies garnered a team score of 136, while Lyons Township (139.8) and Hinsdale Central (142.95) rounded out first and second place finishes respectively.

M.G. Senseng led OPRF by procuring the team’s best finish in the meet: a second place (8.9) on the bars. Senseng also finished third on the beam with a 9.075 and fourth in the all-around with a 35.275.

Other top finishers for OPRF included Catherine Malin (seventh, 8.9, floor), Katherine Gevitz (12th, 8.95, vault) and Claire Sapko (10th, 8.8, floor).

OPRF falls to Glenbard West

Things seemed to be going well for the OPRF girls basketball team when they traveled to Glenbard West for a West Suburban (Silver) Conference game on Saturday and trailed by only two points after one quarter. But then the bottom fell out for the Huskies.

OPRF (13-9, 5-4) was outscored 20-6, and was forced to watch Glenbard West run away with a 59-43 conference title-clinching victory.

The Huskies were led by Ashleen Bracey’s 13 points. Amber Slaughter nearly tallied a double-double, finishing with 11 points and nine rebounds.

OPRF downed Willowbrook 64-42 on Thursday thanks mainly in part to the sharp-shooting of Caley Hague, who connected on five three-pointers.

Clare O’Conner added to Hague’s 15 points with 12 of her own.

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Brad Spencer

Brad Spencer has been covering sports in and around Oak Park for more than a decade, which means the young athletes he once covered in high school are now out of college and at home living with their parents...