The OPRF and Fenwick wrestling teams are ready to make some noise in their respective conferences in the 2023-24 season.
For the Huskies (2-4 in the West Suburban conference last season), they will be returning 10 wrestlers to their varsity team, including state qualifier from last season sophomore Zev Koransky (126 lb. weight class). Among the other returning grapplers are Senior Ruben Acevedo (113 lb./120 lb.), sophomore Aiden John Noyes (132 lb.), junior Joe Knackstedt (138 lb.), sophomore David Ogunsanya (150 lb.), seniors Isaac Davies and Emmett Baker (165 lb.), junior Hugh Vanek (175 lb.), and juniors CJ Robinson and Eric Harris (215/285 lb.).
“We feel very confident about the team we have this year,” said Huskies head coach Paul Collins. “We have a lot of returning starters from a team that finished as an IHSA Regional Runner-up. We have a great core of senior leaders fortified by talented and hard-working underclassman. It will be great to get into the competition season to see where everyone is; the goal is to have everyone prepared for the IHSA Regionals in February.”
Freshman MJ Rundell (106 lb.), junior Gabe Rojas (113/120 lb.), sophomore Jeremiah Hernandez (144 lb.), and junior Ben Martin (190 lb.) will be joining the varsity team this year on their journey to win the always competitive West Suburban Conference
“We are looking to compete for a conference and IHSA Regional championship,” Collins said. “I like the way our lineup is shaping up and the wrestlers are pushing themselves and each other each day.”
For the Friars, they will be coming off a seventh-place finish in the Chicago Catholic League in Varsity last season, while the Frosh/Soph level finished second. They will be returning 10 Varsity members, including state qualifier from last season, junior Aiden Burns (157/165 lb.). Junior CJ Brown (120 lb), junior Max Kenny (144 lb.), junior Eiam Staples (150 lb.) and senior Luke Dalise (190 lb.) will also be helping the Friars along the way as they aim to win the Chicago Catholic League.
“There’s a lot of excitement with this team,” said Friars head coach Seth Gamino. “The Fenwick wrestling program has made some great strides, and the team is ready to show it on the mat. Myself, all my great coaches and the team are excited.”
The Friars will be kicking off their season this weekend at the Brighton tournament. Some other key meets for them will be the Morton Holiday Classic, the CPS vs. Catholic Schools Meet, and the two-day CCL Mega Quads.
“The team’s goal is simple,” Gamino said. “Get better each day and go forward in a positive direction. The team has a shot at winning a team regional, something that we haven’t done since 2005. But that is a while away. We work hard and get better each day. And have fun while doing it. Lots of fun.”
The Huskies and Friars will square off for the Village Cup, which was brought back last season after over a decade, on Jan. 13.