Scouting the MSL and CSL meets
2018 champion: Prospect
After going a perfect 5-0 during the past two season in the MSL West, Barrington fell short in its bid to win at the conference tournament.
Broncos coach Dave Udchik hopes the third time will be the charm.
The Barrington head coach would help guide his team to another 5-0 regular season, only this time without the usual star-studded lineup Broncos' fans have grown accustomed to seeing.
"We knew that everyone saw the departure of six 'stud' seniors likely figured us to be in the middle of a rebuilding year, but we used the inspiration from that team to help this new group go out and do its best to accomplish some things the last two teams were unable to do," said Udchik.
According to MSL East champion and MSL West runner-up Schaumburg, the Broncos are the team to beat, albeit with a caveat according to Mike Levanti.
"With Conant and Prospect experiencing a bit more adversity than one can recall in the last decade or so, it appears Barrington is the team to beat this weekend," said the Schaumburg head coach.
"That said, both are capable of churning out a superlative performance over the two days, while we're just happy to be in the conversation once again."
Barrington junior Luke Rasmussen (32-0) is the No. 1 man at 160 pounds in the most recent state polls, while seniors John Smith (Wheeling, 35-5) and Jose Ramos (Prospect, 31-2) are the next two highest ranked at their respective weight divisions, Smith No. 5 (145) and Ramos No. 3 at 285.
Both are after their second MSL title. Ramos will likely have an easier time, Smith with more of a challenge coming from Kai Conway (Barrington, 27-5) Jack Lingle (Schaumburg, 21-7) and Michael Mondus (Fremd, 26-9) in a crowded field.
Nicky Amato (Conant, 138), Andrew Baysinger (Prospect, 138), Ryan Giuliano (Conant, 120), Lester Gonzales (Conant, 220), Conway, Smith and Ramos all look to become two-time MSL champs.
Tom Whalen watched his Prospect club struggle in the early going for a variety of reasons, however, of late, the Knights appear to have gotten themselves back on its front foot.
"We've been a pretty consistent team since the Glenbard North quad in mid-December, and with the exception of a small lapse recently on the second day at DeKalb, we've been scoring a ton of bonus points, and have improved in our ability to stay focused and maintain our intensity," says Whalen.
"With so many other teams much improved, it will be a competitive tournament."
Adds Levanti: "These have been some strange days in the MSL with coaching turnover, injuries, front-loaded schedules for everyone, and some very interesting dual results so we all should expect plenty of surprises."
Central Suburban League
Host: New Trier
2018 champion: Deerfield
Outlook: Chances to unseat reigning league kingpin Deerfield have been few and far between, with only New Trier having an opportunity to do so of late.
The Trevians claimed the crown in 2012, but since then, its been all Deerfield, and the odds are the Warriors will lift the big trophy come Saturday afternoon.
The strength of the Warriors is with a trio of men all rated in the top 5 in the state -- Jake Reicin (152), Brock Emmerich (160) and Cody Goodman at 182 -- but it's also the depth of coach Marc Pechters' lineup that will be tough to break.
Maine South can counter somewhat with its upper weight power in Jon Halverson (182), Jim Bartell (195) and Sean Kelly (220), while Evanston has its share of quality as well.
Maine West senior Jake Bellizzi (21-3) happens to be a part of a first-class group at 220, all of which are state-ranked.
No. 1 Ramin Abraham (Evanston) leads the way, followed by No. 5 (Kelly) and Trent Williams (Glenbrook North) who comes in at No. 10.
Maine West head coach Chris Brassell likes the chances for Bellizzi, as well as Ilie Tomov (126, 22-9) and Isco Isuf (21-7) who impressed all season long, particularly the sophomore Isuf who is in his first season with the big club.
The Warriors will look to finish mid-table when the final standings are announced.