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updated: 12/16/2013 10:36 PM

Cortez keeping Glenbard North's winning tradition going

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  • Jered Cortez of Glenbard North defeats Larry Early of Oak Park River Forest during a 3A 120-pound semifinal bout at the 2012 IHSA wrestling state finals in Champaign.

      Jered Cortez of Glenbard North defeats Larry Early of Oak Park River Forest during a 3A 120-pound semifinal bout at the 2012 IHSA wrestling state finals in Champaign.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent

Glenbard North has had a wrestling pedigree in the large-school division few schools can duplicate.

The Panthers have captured 10 state trophies in either the Class AA or 3A dual-meet tournament since the turn of the century.

Glenbard North has been dropped a DuPage Valley Conference meet since 1997 and owns 15 consecutive league titles.

Veteran coach Mark Hahn has also directed the program to 13 straight regional championships.

"I have been real fortunate," said Hahn, who said the Panthers' middle-school feeder programs were at the root of their success. "I have a great staff."

Glenbard North has the distinction of having the top-ranked 126-pound athlete in the nation -- Jered Cortez.

The Illinois-bound senior has back-to-back 50-plus win seasons since arriving at the Carol Stream high school after winning a Class 2A title as a Marmion freshman.

Glenbard North has produced 18 individual state champions, and Cortez could match Tony Ramos' program record of three state championships with another unblemished run.

"(Cortez) is head and shoulders above his competition right now," Hahn said. "He makes it look effortless. We have never had a four-time state champion. If he wins another state title, he will definitely have to be considered the best (in program history)."

Jon Marmolejo is the second-rated 120-pounder in the state, listed only behind Marmion senior Johnny Jimenez, who can also join Cortez as a four-time champion this season.

"He is a workhorse in the (wrestling) room," Hahn said of Marmolejo. "He gets overshadowed by Cortez. He has definitely been a big part of the program the last four years."

Sister school Glenbard East has six returning state qualifiers, headlined by top-ranked 106-pounder Carlos Fuentez.

The programs meet Friday at Glenbard North.

"I think we match up OK with them," Hahn said.

Hahn, despite the Panthers' undefeated dual-meet record, has not been totally content with his squad this season.

"We've got a long ways to go," Hahn said. "We are not where I want us to be (at this stage in the season)."

A smooth transition:

Former Glenbard North all-state 215-pounder Travis Cherry took over the Wheaton North program when Steve Holland left to coach Hinsdale South.

"(Holland leaving) kind of surprised me," said Cherry, who was an assistant coach for six years at Neuqua Valley and Wheaton North. "I thought he would retire as a Falcon."

Wheaton North is 10-1 overall and 3-0 in the DuPage Valley, with wins over West Aurora, Naperville North and Wheaton Warrenville South in league action.

Wheaton North has been led by state-ranked 126-pounder Dylan Thurston as well as Ben Wilson, Mike Volle and Anthony Yanan at 145, 152 and 220 pounds, respectively.

Thurston will seek to dethrone Cortez in the league this year.

"He is up for the challenge," Cherry said of Thurston. "He's been talking about (challenging Cortez) since the end of last season."


Waubonsie Valley, coming off conference and regional championships, had a bad start at the Glenbard East quadrangular last weekend.

The Warriors dropped their first match against Huntley.

"We tried to mix some things up (in our lineup), and it backfired on us," Waubonsie Valley coach Brad Caldwell said.

But Waubonsie Valley rebounded its second match against Oswego East and stunned the host Rams in its final match.

"It was a very good dual (against Glenbard East)," Caldwell said.

The Warriors trailed 35-33, but the final weight class turned out to be fortuitous.

"We had (returning state qualifier) Jimmy Davis wrestling for us," Caldwell said. "He was able to get a pin for us."

The fall provided the final margin of victory in Warriors' 39-35 triumph.

"(Davis) has had some good competition (this season)," Caldwell said of his prized 138-pounder, ranked sixth.

On the move:

Glenbard West has a senior-dominated look this winter.

The Hilltoppers' standout has been Parnevlon Sheppard, the 138-pounder is undefeated after eight matches this season.

"He is real quick with a double-(leg takedown) that is hard to stop," Glenbard West coach Nick Posegay said of Sheppard.

Collin Knowlton is also state ranked for Glenbard West at 170 pounds.

"He just missed the state tournament last year and came back with a couple of goals in mind," Posegay said.

Knowlton is also unbeaten this season with nine straight wins to start the year.

The Hilltoppers' Paul Selman has begun the season with six consecutive wins at 132 pounds.

Allen all in:

Jason Hayes' recent tenure at Hinsdale Central has been characterized by the dominance of brothers Jack and Brian Allen.

The elder Allen, a junior at Michigan State, won the Class 3A championship in 2011.

Brian Allen has also committed for play football at East Lansing, but the Red Devils' season has unfinished business after running the table at 285 pounds last year.

Allen is 14-0 on the season and the clear favorite for a second title this season.

"They both want to win," Hayes said. "They train to be the very best. They want to be successful at the highest levels."

Hayes also has a state-title contender in junior Juwan Edmond, the No. 3-rated 145-pounder.

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