Lisle looks on bright side of loss to Coal City

By Scott Schmid
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 2/25/2020 9:32 PM

Facing a storied Coal City program that had 10 individual state qualifiers, Lisle knew it faced a stiff challenge Tuesday.

So upon leaving the Class 1A IC Catholic Prep sectional after losing 74-0, the youthful Lions weren't about to hang their heads.


"My main philosophy today was to come out and wrestle tough," Lisle coach Brandon Wolak said. "Just don't give anything to anyone. I know it's tough, you don't like looking at that score. But it is what it is. I'm proud of the guys for wrestling as hard as they could."

The experienced Coalers, who have nine state trophies in their history including six runner-up dual team finishes, received pins from Derek Carlson (120 pounds), Gabe Ludes (145), David Papach (160), Ashton Harvey (170) and Logan Miller (285).

Lisle's lineup only included a trio of seniors in Devion Sanderson, Jack Kelly and Grantas Jankauskas and was missing a pair of starters due to injury. The Lions forfeited three weight classes.

"This is a really young group," Wolak said. "Most of our starting lineup is made up of freshmen and sophomores. We won our regional and I was really proud of the guys for doing that, that was a big goal from the start of the season.

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"Now we just went up against one of the top teams in the state. And I know the score might not look like it, but we've improved a lot from the beginning of the season."

One of those starters who was out was junior heavyweight Michael Walker, who finished sixth individually at state last weekend. He was one of three state qualifiers along with Sanderson (113 pounds) and sophomore Brady Collins (106).

"Michael just started wrestling his freshman year," the coach said. "He's a super-athletic kid with all kinds of potential. He qualified for the state tournament last year too but didn't get to compete (due to injury). The sky is the limit for him next year."

As a team, Lisle finished the 2019-20 season with a dual meet record of 17-10. The Lions also finished second in conference behind Coal City.

"It's a building process," Wolak said, "and I'm the type of guy that looks a few years down the road. We are set up pretty well to have a successful next couple of years."

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