Naperville Central wrestling coach Rob Porter considers his young team hard working and dedicated. But he said things haven't always gone the Redhawks' way this season.
They did Thursday night on Naperville Central's home mats. The Redhawks, down 25-6 at one point, came back to prevail 34-32 over West Aurora in a DuPage Valley Conference meet.
"I'm happy we got the win. Our kids work their tails off and continue to try and improve. We have overcome adversity all year," Porter said.
The win means some momentum going into Friday's regular-season finale against visiting Naperville North.
Thursday's meet began at 152 pounds with the Blackhawks beginning the evening with three straight victories and a 13-0 lead. Brandon Farias at 152 pounds won by decision with Joe Griffin (160 pounds) prevailing by fall and Dequon Booker earning a major decision.
Naperville Central needed to get on the scoreboard before West Aurora's lead got too big. Kyle Hildebrand at 182, trailing 6-5 in the third period, scored a 2-point takedown to win 7-6. He was determined to break the shutout.
"I asked myself, 'Do I want to win this?' I looked at the scoreboard and didn't like what I saw. I wanted to get us started," Hildebrand said.
After a Naperville Central forfeit at 195, the Redhawks' Alex Hunter won by decision at 220 and then Sam Deisher won by fall at 285 to put West Aurora up 25-6.
Then the comeback commenced. The Blackhawks forfeited at 106 and West Aurora came back at 113 with a major decision by Jason Jude. Derek Wilkie then scored a fall for Naperville Central to put the Redhawks to within 11.
Connor Cesaretti then prevailed by fall to pull the Redhawks to within 5. Erik Olson's decision victory at 132 were the last Blackhawks points of the night at 32-24.
West Aurora forfeited at 145 pounds, the last match of the night. So that meant the meet result rested at 138. Naperville Central junior Ben Williamson, an honorable mention selection in one poll and a returning state qualifier, came on to the mat.
He led from the start and won 9-0.
"It's always nice to beat a DVC team. We've not had the best luck this season. We're coming together as a team and this was a good dual-meet win," Williamson said.
As for West Aurora, injuries have forced lineup changes, moving some JV wrestlers into Thursday's lineup.
"It's a hard thing with just a day's notice or a week's notice to move up to the varsity," said West Aurora coach Mike DiNovo. "I thought the JV guys wrestled well. It was a good team performance."
The Blackhawks return home to host Lake Park on Friday before traveling to Barrington on Saturday to conclude the regular season.