OPRF wrestler CJ Robinson (on top) has a hold of Fenwick's Luke D'Alise during a 195-pound match Jan. 14. D'Alise notched a takedown in the final second to earn a 5-3 victory. | Carol Dunning/Contributor

For the first time since 2010, the Oak Park and River Forest and Fenwick High School wrestling teams faced off on the mat Jan. 14 before a large and enthusiastic crowd at the OPRF fieldhouse.

The Village Cup, which goes to the winner of the match, was not awarded as there was no team score kept due to multiple forfeits. However, that didn’t diminish the excitement as the Huskies won five bouts while the Friars took four.

“It was awesome,” said OPRF coach Paul Collins. “Fenwick’s a few blocks away and coach [Seth] Gamino and I have a good relationship. He’s been extremely helpful and I’m glad we got the ball rolling on this again.”

“It was exciting and fun,” Gamino said. “It’s just great to get the friendly rivalry started again.”

Fenwick had to forfeit four bouts due to injury or illness. But the Friars who competed fared well. 

In perhaps the most exciting bout of the evening, Fenwick’s Luke D’Alise jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the 195-pound class against OPRF’s C.J. Robinson. But Robinson escaped in the third period to gain a point, and after having been penalized two points for stalling, D’Alise got a takedown with one second left to claim a 5-3 victory.

“I didn’t agree with the stalling call,” Gamino said. “But Luke got the takedown before it was over, and that’s all that matters.”

The Friars’ other winners were Vincent Fioravanti (10-0 over Roman Pantazopoulos at 160 pounds), Finn McGee (pin over Hugh Vanek at 170), and Conor Stetz (11-1 over Eric Harris at 220).

“Finn and Vincent are looking strong,” said Gamino. “They’ve got goals of going downstate and making some noise and I think they’re on the right track. Conor is also doing well and looks sharp.”

For OPRF, freshman Zev Koransky improved his season record to an impressive 24-7 with a pin of C.J. Brown in just 38 seconds.

“Zev is really good,” Collins said. “We knew he was going to be a starter and make an impact right away. You never know how the transition from the Little Huskies [youth program] is going to be, but Zev has done a fantastic job.”

The Huskies’ other on-mat victories also came via pin. At 132 pounds, Will Kelly pinned Max Kenny in 1:58, while Joe Knackstedt defeated Elam Staples in 2:40 at 138, Isaac Davies beat T.J. Nix at 152 in 4:42 and Vance Domenz pinned Jack Paris in 5:32 at 182.

“I feel good,” Collins said. “We’ve had injuries, but I’m excited because we have guys willing to continue to work and push themselves. As long as we get everybody back, we have a good shot at competing for the regional title.”

Fenwick will participate in the Chicago Catholic League championships Jan. 21 at Mount Carmel.

“I told the boys that now a new season starts,” Gamino said. “It’s the postseason, and I like where we’re at. We’re ready to roll.”

After a West Suburban Silver dual at York on Jan. 20, OPRF hosts its annual Huskie Invitational on Jan. 21. The Huskies will host an IHSA Class 3A regional meet on Feb. 4.

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