Antonietti, Naperville Central off to fast start
As the famous Jeffersons' sitcom would say, the Naperville Central wrestling team is moving on up.
After besting previously undefeated West Aurora and St. Charles East over the weekend at the Wheaton Warrenville South Mega Duals, Naperville Central climbed from No. 21 to No. 7 i n the coaches' poll.
Wrestling is a sport in which the heavyweight grappler on the team occupies a unique position.
Nick Antonietti certainly serves that role for the Redhawks.
The Redhawks' heavyweight--after an agonizing loss against state-ranked West Aurora 285-pounder Jordan Lishman--had a crucial fall against his counterpart from St. Charles East in the Naperville Central 33-29 victory at WW South on Saturday.
"In stuff like this I just want to make sure I win every match," Antonietti said. ""That's the goal. I know I can make matches like that (against Lishman) even closer and even win it.
The area Class 3A landscape is utterly loaded with top-notch heavyweights as Glenbard North senior Paulie Robertston is ranked No. 2 in the state.
"I want to win a state championship. " Antonietti said. "I have been working a lot this off-season.
Like many of his teammates, Antonietti was utterly thrilled with the Redhawks' wins over Class 3A Kane County powers West Aurora and St. Charles East.
"We wrestled hard against West (Aurora); we wrestled hard against St. Charles (East)l," Antonietti said. "They were ranked ahead of us, so that will bump up our ranking a bit. If we can wrestle like this there is nothing to stop us."
WW South update:
There are few things in sports more compelling than a sibling rivalry.
The Al Obaidi boys at Wheaton Warrenville South are a case in point.
"It extends to the household," Sedeeq Al Obaidi said of his skirmishes with his sophomore brother Zean. "We try to switch it up. I've got the weight advantage. I will score those takedowns. We get the best of each other."
Sedeeq, a junior 160-pounder is 6-1 on the season; his little brother, Zean, a sophomore, is 7-2 one weight lower at 152.
"Having a sibling is the best thing you can have as a wrestler, especially close to your weight class,""Zean Al Obaidi said. "We can wrestle at home. We can discuss the things we need to do better. It helps a lot to have that partner option. I will bring it on the next few matches."
Girls wrestling update:
Without question the biggest news in recent memory when it comes to the sport of wrestling is that the state-governing body, the IHSA, will sanction a state tournament for girls come February.
But there is a wide disparity in interest level when it comes to females in the sport among local programs.
"We have one girl in our program," Waubonsie Valley coach Brad Caldwell said of 125-pounder Amaya Askia-Day. "If Amaya can do something, maybe some of the other girls will be interested in joining the team."
"I think we are the one Glenbard school with the most girls," Glenbard West coach Nick Posegay said. "I think we have a nice thing going."
Among local girls in the sport, Noelia Vazques and Gracie Swieczynski, from Fenton and Downers Grove South, respectively, at 182 pounds are the unofficial state champion and third-place athlete from the coaches' association tournament (IWCOA) last spring.
Another Fenton female wrestler, Sopia Sosa at 145 pounds, was also all-state last spring at the coaches' state tournament.
But there is also an element of ambiguity when it comes to female wrestlers in the county.
"We have zero girls in the NNHS wrestling program," Naperville North coach Tom Champion texted. "We promoted it like crazy. The IHSA never informed myself or my administration that girls wrestling was an official sport."