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Huntley High School Wrestling Looks Toward Season Finals

Tommy Regan

      When junior Jesse Venegas walked into Huntley High School for the first time as a freshman, he realized that there was no such thing as a wrestling room, a place with a giant wrestling mat about the size of a basketball court. There wasn’t a big fan base at meets. It was nothing like what Crystal Lake Central had.

     “Central wrestlers have a ton of dedication and a great all around program,” says Venegas, “but Huntley has coaches who know how to make great wrestlers in order to compete with top wrestling schools in the area such as Harvard, Crystal Lake South and Crystal Lake Central. I decided to wrestle in order to test myself and see if I could handle one of the hardest sports out there. What interested me was the chance to be a part of a team and being forced to use every muscle in my body to win.”

     So far this year Huntley has posted meet victories over Hampshire, St. Edward, St. Charles North, and Rockford Jefferson.

     According to, senior Lucas Rogers is ranked 15th in the 135 pound weight class and has posted first place finishes at the Wauconda and Harvard tournaments. Junior Josh Symbal is currently ranked 21st in the 171 pound weight class with a tournament win at Wauconda and a 4th place finish at Harvard.  Senior Matt Zeis is ranked 14th in the 215 pound weight class along with a 2nd place finish at Wauconda and a 5th place finish at Barrington.

     “We owe are success this year to harder practices and younger wrestlers stepping up and filling weight classes,” said sophomore Brandon Mabry.

     This year, two freshmen, Austin Scolfield and Trevor Symbal, have competed in over twenty varsity matches.

     “I’m proud of the underclassmen stepping up and taking varsity on by the horns,” said varsity assistant coach B.J. Bertlesman. “No team wants to be in the position where eight out of the thirteen varsity wrestlers are underclassmen but we’ve had to deal with it this year.”

     Having these underclassmen on the varsity lineup will bring more experience to the team in years to come and with experience come wins.

     “We have been doing much more conditioning this year than last year,” said sophomore varsity wrestler John Walker. “But with harder practices comes more success at meets.”

     The wrestling team lost a tough meet against Crystal Lake South after back to back pins at the end of the meet. South ended up winning the meet 37-21. This loss really motivated the team to work even harder in preparing for meets in the future.

     “Mentally preparing yourself is also important before a meet,” said Venegas. “Sometimes being smarter than your opponent on the mat can be better than being stronger.”

     All the wrestlers are preparing themselves for state finals coming up in February.  The loan state qualifier last year was senior Lucas Rogers and Josh Symbal was a state alternate.

     “In order to qualify for state I take the tournaments one week at a time,” said senior Lucas Rogers.  “Right now I am mainly focusing on the conference tournament.”

     The conference tournament is approaching fast and will be underway in less than a week. After the conference tournament, the best wrestlers in the Fox Valley will bring their talents to the regional meet in order to compete for a spot at state.





Post Author: Mike Krebs. Mike Krebs is a staff writer for The Voice. He is currently a junior a Huntley High School. Aside from writing for the Voice he works at the Crystal Lake Country Club as both a caddie and on the Bag Room Staff. He has been an Explorer at the Algonquin Police Department for two years and currently holds the rank of Lieutenant. He also volunteers with the Tri-Area Court for Teens for Lake in the Hills, Huntley, and Algonquin. He enjoys spending time with family and friends. When possible he enjoys playing paintball with friends at local fields.

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