Days before the new season was under way, Prospect coach Tom Whalen figured he could best discuss the state of his wrestling teams once three consecutive Friday night duals against Mid-Suburban East Division foes had been completed just before the holiday break.
With victories over Hersey, Wheeling and then a Friday night win over Buffalo Grove, it appears Prospect and its coach has already made a statement.
The Knights fought off a valiant effort from the host Bison to grab a 44-27 victory to stay a perfect 3-0 in the division and earn a few days off in advance of an annual visit to DeKalb and its two-day mega duals.
"There's a lot of competition in our room this year, and so far, we've been able to get past three division opponents," said Whalen. "But there's still a long way, so we've got to stay healthy and hungry if we want to challenge at the MSL tournament and later on at regionals."
Buffalo Grove, meanwhile, made the best of the resources at hand on Friday.
"We were a little shorthanded, and that's pretty much what its been like for us this year so far," said Bison coach Dave Durlacher. "We fought hard and gave (Prospect) a little scare with a late run, but that is a team with a lot of strength at the upper weights, and that was a big difference in the final outcome tonight."
BG fell behind 27-6 after the first seven bouts before closing within 6 at 33-27. But Knights big man Joe Zalewski ended the comeback hopes for the Bison.
"From 170 on up, that's one of the best upper weight groups we've seen," said Durlacher. "But we got a big win from our 132-pounder (Tyler Cho), his first on the varsity, then Brian Egan (ranked No. 8 in the state) and Jake Siebert were very strong at 138 and 145 to get us closer. It would have been a nice one to steal, that's for sure."
The Knights' big start in the Bison's ice cold fieldhouse was fueled by back-to-back pins from Frank Walter and Shola George at 220 and 285, and a 6-5 decision by Ari Straczek (106) over Jake Greenburg in a very competitive bout.
Senior Rob Mowery (13-8) recorded the first points of the evening for the home side with a pin at 1:14, but Joe Benway (120) and Mike Tomsetti (126) regained momemtum for Prospect with victories by decision to put the visitors in control by 21 points (27-6).
Egan, who won an individual title at the 49th annual Russ Erb tournament at Glenbrook South last weekend, continued his impressive first half with a pin at 1:53 to run his record to 16-0 overall.
Egan's partner in the room, Siebert, followed with a fall at 1:08 to make it 27-22 Prospect.
"Maybe a couple of wins at the lower weights could have made the difference, especially after (Jamie Coyoc's) pin at 160 to get us closer (33-27) at that point," said Durlacher.
But it was not to be thanks to Zalewski, who came out as the aggressor, building an 8-0 lead after one period, then opening with a takedown and near-fall before finishing off newcomer Roma Makarov with a tech-fall at 4:00.
Dan Fiumetto's forfeit win at 182 ended the night.
"New Trier is the front-runner right now at our regional, but its six weeks until that tournament, and if we can continued to progress and improve with each week, we'll have a chance to make a strong run at them," said Whalen.