The powerful one-two punch of Cody Hauser and Alex Jacobs were at the heart of a pin frenzy by Fremd on Thursday night as the Vikings claimed a 40-30 victory over visiting Glenbrook South in nonconference wrestling action.
The pair jump-started the Vikings during the early stages, with Hauser (16-2) recording a fall at 1:07 before the Jacobs (18-1), a sophomore, needed one second more to put away Ali Shegarfi to put the hosts up for good at 13-9.
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After Djameno N'towe (220, 11-6) followed up with another fall in just 41 seconds, it was the lower weight trio of Matt Mallon (106), Quin Bergels (113) and Nick Clark (120) reeling off consecutive pins to extend the Vikings' advantage to 36-15 before Grant Barwacz's 16-4 major decision added to the damage.
"Cody and Alex lead the way for this team, but the freshmen and sophomores are really pushing the upperclassmen each day, which in turn turns up the intensity in the room each and every day," said Vikings assistant Dan Ruettiger. "It's probably the biggest reason we've seen the improvement with the guys since the beginning of the season."
Ruettiger had plenty of praise for Fremd's leaders.
Hauser earned first-place trophies at both the Harvard and Ed Ewoldt (Wheaton Warrenville South) tournaments after nearly grabbing a third championship ring at the Dick Mudge in mid-December.
"Cody has come a long way since last season after a great off-season of work, which he's continued right on through and into the season so I am not surprised with his overall record, and where he's at right now," Ruettiger said. "As for Alex, he's so dedicated and he's come so far in just his first season on the varsity, and at a weight (195) where it's difficult to be successful as just a sophomore."
Hauser has plenty of motivation to succeed after falling short of advancing to the sectional in back-to-back years. He finished fourth at the regional level in both his sophomore and junior seasons.
"I put so much into my training during the off-season, wrestled a lot of matches and worked on getting stronger and more fit," said Hauser, who won 19 times as a sophomore and 26 times last season. "But I also admit that I came into the season with a chip on my shoulder because of my finish at regionals, and it's something that's helped motivate me to get downstate.
"There's a reason the team and both Alex and I are improving, and it's coach Ruettiger. He's instilled a high level of work and intensity into the room and program, as well as the desire to make us the best when it comes to conditioning, which I feel we are."
Jacobs was alongside his teammate atop the podium at both Harvard and Wheaton Warrenville South and shared up runners-up at the prestigious Dick Mudge, as the two find themselves among the honorable mentions in the current state rankings by lllinoisMatmen.com.
It was another tough night for second-year Glenbrook South coach Tom Mietus, who was a star at Maine West in the glory years of 1997-1999, when current Warriors coach Lance Weber and Hoffman Estates coach Tony Ganas ruled the mats for Maine West's program led by Tom Egan.
"We began the night well with a win but fell apart afterwards, which is something we've been doing since the holiday break," said Mietus, who was a three-sport star at West, and a member of the Sports Hall of Fame at the school. "We've got to take a look at the way we're doing things, and maybe make a few changes with the hope of turning things around quick enough in order to get ready for conference, then regionals."
The Titans host Evanston on Friday in its Central Suburban League regular-season finale, while Fremd is at Palatine on Friday before heading to Round Lake for a triple dual on Saturday.
Next Friday, Vikings long-time head coach Ralph Cortez, who is retiring at the end of the school year, will coach his last regular-season dual against Schaumburg.