Bartlett seniors Kenny Malekian and defending state champion Sal Annoreno square off in practice all the time.
For Malekian though, it comes at a premium.
"Wrestling with Annoreno, that's what gets me better, " Malekian says. "He kicks my butt every day."
But as the Hawk teammates came together and slapped hands after their victories, you could tell that was the type of intensity and leadership the Hawks see everyday and they used that to garner a 49-30 win over Upstate Eight Valley rival South Elgin Friday night.
Jacob Bergroschtje (220) and Nick Kowalski (285) came away with quick pins right off the bat for a 12-0 Storm lead but Bartlett (5-5) kicked it up a notch. With two South Elgin (2-6) forfeits that evened the score, Bartlett won 6 of its next 7 matches for an insurmountable lead.
"We were rocked back on our heels," Hawks' coach John O'Brien said. "Giving up 12 right off the git, but I knew right after that we were going to get 12 back right back. Then I felt from then on out, if we were close, pretty solid from 19-20, to 60, we're pretty solid and that's nice when we get Sal back in the lineup."
After tweaking a knee and the timing of Thanksgiving, Annoreno moved up from 138 to 145 but showed no ill effects. He pinned Grant Saldivar to conclude matters in the first period after using the scarf move to get the win after his turns and takedowns were working as well.
"I felt a lot stronger because I got bumped up from 138," said Annoreno, who's now 4-0 and bound for Northern Illinois next year. "They beat us two years ago; we beat them last year. It's always fun wrestling them. "
Malekian (3-1) at 160 used his veteran leadership and the coffee grinder early on Storm's Ben Abraham. With a series of arm bars, eventually Malekian earned a pin at 2:38.
"This is our rival school, we got to beat them. For me it's the most important day of the year, beating the crud out of these guys," said Malekian.
Ryan Hennessey (138, 7-4 overall) and Anthony Zipparro (120) also scored victories for Bartlett. Besides Cory Pych's (12-1) win at 126, Bartlett seemed the bit dominant and detouring.
Pych's opponent, Alex Pineda, stayed high and didn't appear he wanted to go down. Eventually, Pych would get him down for the pin at 3:09.
"The kid was just trying to stall out a lot so I kept with my moves and eventually got the pin," Pych said.
Kowalski (10-2) and Bergroschtje (8-3) made quick work in their matches, Bergroschtje at 1:14 and Kowalski at 1:19. That seemed to grab momentum early for South Elgin and although Bergroschtje won with a series of headlocks and a critical takedown early, how it was done slipped his mind.