Both St. Charles high schools have new wrestling coaches this winter.
But Jason Potter, a former two-time state champion at St. Charles High School in the late 1990s, had a memorable coaching debut for his alma mater Wednesday night in the programs' annual pre-Thanksgiving dual match.
The Saints, still bristling from an unceremonious postseason last year, wrestled as if the North Stars reneged on a debt.
St. Charles East steamrolled the North Stars at Wredling Middle School, whitewashing St. Charles North in the first 13 matches of the schools' Upstate Eight Conference River Division contest.
Wes Pashoak salvaged the North Stars' honor by capturing the final match, at 220 pounds, to make the final 70-3 in favor of the Saints.
"I knew coming in that if we wrestled well, we could put on a performance like this," said Potter, who won Class AA state championships for the Saints in 1998 and '99. "The guys who are trying to make a name for themselves did so tonight. We have some lofty goals for the season."
Ten of the matches ended prematurely.
The draw came at heavyweight, with the Saints' Will Leite dispatching his foe, the first of three straight pins for St. Charles East, 25 seconds prior to the first-period buzzer.
"I knew I couldn't go out there relaxed," Leite said ."I had to wrestle tougher than I ever have. Coach (Potter) really whipped us into shape this week."
The Saints' spread was soon upped to 18-0 as brothers Anthony and Ryan Rubino had few problems at 106 and 113 pounds.
In one of the few closely contested matches, the Saints' DJ McDermott opened his freshman season with a hard-fought 2-1 decision over the North Stars' Anthony Perrilli.
Nick Giovenco did likewise with a 3-0 victory at 145 pounds for St. Charles East, but low-scoring matches proved to be an aberration in the teams' season opener.
Austin Hrubec (126 pounds), Isaiah Vela (132) and Ryan Valesh (138) had another run of three falls for the Saints; each of the matches ended in the second-period.
Vela, all-state as a freshman two years ago, returned to the mat after missing out on the postseason last year with a broken rib.
"It felt good getting back into a match mood," Vela said. "The team is looking really good. I want to reach the state finals. That's what I'm shooting for this year."
St. Charles East led 46-0 after Ramon Lopez secured a major decision at 152 pounds, but the Saints showed little sympathy for their city and conference rivals.
Four matches later the Saints had once again scored the maximum number of points as Brad Kearbey, Cam Carlson, Xander Doria and Keegan Furmanski all secured pins between 160 and 195 pounds.
"It's pretty hard to watch whooping like that," St. Charles North coach Pete McNamara said. "We're trying to turn a corner. We're trying to change the culture."