'Fight for the Fin' trophy returns to Conant
The fish is back at Conant.
One year after watching Schaumburg end the seven-year hold on the Fight for the Fin trophy, Conant coach Chad Hay took a long look at the hideous trophy he and Schaumburg coach Mike Levanti saved from the trash before saying how much he wanted it back in the Cougars' wrestling room Friday night.
Hay would get his wish when his team outscored the Saxons 25-4 in the late stages of this crosstown contest to win 36-25 in a Mid-Suburban West opener for both clubs.
"We got it back, and I feel a whole lot better than I did last year," admitted a pleased Hay, whose club fell 36-35 in a thrilling dual before a jammed pack house a year ago.
Friday night, another big crowd at William Perry Gymnasium in Hoffman Estates was treated to late heroics by a quintet of Cougars -- Christian Gilbert (138 pounds), Kamden Cosgrove (145), Kobe Gilbert (160), Jack Hominac (170) and Max Hernandez, whose thunderous pin in the first period at 182 would finish off Levant's team.
"You have to be courageous in order to win on these types of nights and for whatever reason, we were not," said Levanti, whose club dropped its first match of the year to fall to 7-1-0 overall.
"Joey Phelps at 113 wrestled extremely well, but we didn't get much else tonight so hats off to Chad and his guys. They deserved this win."
Derek Lewandowski (Conant) and Jorge Manjarrez (Schaumburg) would each claim a decision at 220 and 285 to start the night before the Saxons' Caden Kirchner (106) and Phelps put their side up 14-3 after a tech-fall and pin.
Russell Hoeft (120) and Bobby Floyd (126) drew the Cougars (4-0-0, 1-0-0) close at 14-11, but a nice effort by Nate Aranda during his major decision victory at 132 would extend the Saxons' lead to 18-11.
"Christian (Gilbert) really turned things around for us at 38 with his pin and after that, we just got ourselves on a nice run ending with that big win by Jack (Hominac) at 70, then that pin from Max," said Hay.
"This was a big early season win for us, especially after losing to Schaumburg last year. It feels good to have the trophy back with us," said Hominac (5-0), who recently captured the 170-pound championship at the Chris Hruska Classic on his home mats.
"I was up 3-0 on Tyler (Bobnick) in this dual last year then I got caught, and he pinned me. It was big for them, and helped Schaumburg win the trophy."
Grant Hansen would slow the Cougars' run when he majored Patrick Kane at 152, but Kobe Gilbert canceled that Saxons victory with a pin at 160 before Hominac's hard fought 9-6 decision.
We lost nine starters, so we're young, and most of the guys will need to just get matches under their belt in order to improve but to beat a team that is so well coached like Schaumburg is a good thing for us," said Hay.