The eyes hold the key
"Glenbrook North's Nate Glazebrook, top, battles Glenbrook South's Nathan Crecan during Friday’s wrestling meet in Glenview."
Nate Glazebrook has a good idea of what he can do against an opponent before his wrestling match even begins.
He sees it in his opponent's eyes.
"It's a confidence thing," Glenbrook North's senior 220-pounder said.
"If I make eye contact and I see him peering away, looking a little nervous, I know that's where I can go," Glazebrook said. "But when I can make eye contact with a kid straight up and he looks right back at me, then I know it will be a match."
It took little time for Glazebrook to get where he wanted to go Jan. 14 in a dual meet at Glenbrook South. He improved to 11-5 on the season on a technical fall in 6 seconds.
"I got a headlock and just tossed him straight to his back," Glazebrook said.
"I'm just happy to be out here, happy to get a quick win against our rival tonight. It feels good. I'm happy, the team had a good day overall," he said.
While Glazebrook won his match, Glenbrook South won the meet, moving to 9-1 in dual matches and 4-1 in the Central Suburban League South. The next day the Titans went 2-1 in nonconference duals at Carmel, heading into their conference meet Jan. 15 at Vernon Hills.
Glenbrook North was limited to five varsity matches Jan. 14 as coach John Gilchrist spread his wrestlers across the three levels.
"We're in a position where we've got three levels and we want people to be successful in each level. I'm not going to just put people up there (on varsity). I want people to wrestle six-minute matches and get better. That's the whole point of this experience," he said.
"The guys wrestled hard. We saw freshmen doing good things, (junior varsity) did good things. It was fun."
Gilchrist had complimented Glenbrook South as a strong program, and the Titans' Ilkin Badalov displayed that. The junior moved up to 182 pounds from the 170 class and won by fall with 1:21 left in the third round.
By the time the quick Badalov (18-4) pinned his man, he led 13-2. Badalov earned points by a variety of means -- reversal, escape, near fall.
"He was getting into being aggressive and getting in his underhooks -- he was real aggressive with his underhooks, which is good. He was just being dominant and aggressive and going forward," said Titan coach Pat Castillo.
South's Will Foster (8-14) likewise moved up to 195 from 182 and won on a first-round fall against Jon Abraskin.
In the first match, contested at 138 pounds, Glenbrook South's Steve Kannampallil started strong with a takedown of Evan Zakhanchenko before the Glenbrook North wrestler rallied.
Zakhanchenko made it a 1-point match after one round and was still within striking distance, down 10-6, when Kannampallil (6-11) got both shoulders down with 1 second left in the second round for the win.
Fans' cries of "Let's go, Pat" accompanied the 160-pound match. Glenbrook South's Patrick Downing and Glenbrook North's Pat Herbst had faced each early in the season, at an invite at Vernon Hills.
"This time I tried to stay on my toes, I tried getting a good sprawl but it was a little bit cramped most of the time, so he caught me," said Herbst (9-8).
Herbst, a senior, led 3-2 after one round, but first an escape then a takedown allowed Downing, a state qualifier last season as a sophomore 152-pounder, to turn the match. Downing (19-5) won the three-rounder on points, 9-4.
"The first time I wrestled him I really couldn't give him my shot. Maybe it was just because it was the beginning of the year," Downing said. "Compared to today, I could anticipate how he was going to sprawl and I was able to get to my shot a lot easier."
Herbst, who tried to pressure Downing's torso when he had the chance, said it was "super-rewarding" to compete against a wrestler of his ability.
"Pat Downing is a great wrestler," Herbst said. "I feel fortunate that I was able to wrestle him, and I hope that I can get another shot at regionals."