MINOOKA — It's been a season full of adversity for the Minooka Indians wrestling program to say the least.
An inconsistent lineup due to injuries, illness and defections, not to mention inconsistency in the team's performance on the mat have appeared to have caught up with the locals. While the demise of the Indians may also be greatly exaggerated at the same time, there does appear to be a new king of the Southwest Prairie Conference hill as Plainfield Central has seemingly stole that mantle.
On Thursday, that notion was furthered by a 36-24 victory by the Wildcats against the Indians in a regular-season dual.
"It's all about inconsistency. In terms of being at practice and working hard consistently," Minooka coach Jeff Charlebois said. "Then they have to show up at meets consistently for us to be in matches. Whether that is in duals or in tournaments, we just don't have the consistency right now."
Things actually appeared to be going well for the Indians through nine bouts as the locals had a 24-11 lead. The meet started at 126 where Nick Nasenbenny beat Brett Miller 10-2 but then Danny Ruettiger defeated Nick Kokkines by fall in 1:27.
Mike McNalty won at 138 by beating Cole Faletti 10-3 but then Carson Oughton was beaten by Ryan Holzrichter 3-0 and Nick Miller lost to Jordan Dinoffria 11-1. At that point Plainfield was up 11-9 and Charlebois was left questioning his own weight-slotting decisions.
"Until we get everyone doing the things we need to be doing, it's going to be hard," Charlebois said. "Even the little things, and I include myself in that. We gave up points at 45 and 52. Maybe we should have split those two instead of losing them both."
Things got better for Minooka over the next four bouts as the Indians swept to a 24-11 lead.
Jeff Klank beat Evan Walters 7-2 at 160, Chris Hiscock beat Akwasi Aikins 703 at 170, at 182 Nathan Gunn won by fall in 1:28 over Calvin Lee and at 195 Josh Bouie rode out a win in sudden victory overtime.
"Nathan came out and got a pin and Josh would have liked to have won in regulation, but he rode it out. Good for him," Charlebois said. "It was nice to see."
"We needed the pin at the time so that we could stay in the match," Gunn said of his 182-pound bout. "I wanted to go out and do my best and get the win."
Bouie was actually called for stalling with seven seconds left while nursing a 2-1 lead at the time, which is why he needed the OT to get the win.
"I was surprised he called it with so little time left," Bouie said of the stalling call. "After that I just took a deep breath ... at the end I knew I had gotten into his head because he was tired and breathing hard."
It was, however, the beginning of the end for Minooka. The Indians forfeited to Jordan Ellingwood at 220, Andrew McAllister beat Eric Vasquez 12-7 at 285, Cody England beat Cooper Shimkus by fall in 4:10 at 106, Dylan Cramer beat Andrew Potts by fall in 1:53 at 113 and at 120 Clayton Ledbetter beat Shane Mart 9-1.
Minooka is now 11-7 overall and 4-1 in the SPC,
"We're a young team and we haven't been consistent with where we are at," Bouie said. "We can get better. I fell this team needs to get an identity. Plainfield has one and it's time for us to develop one of our own."
"We have to keep fighting," Gunn said. "Minooka wrestling has been one of the best teams at state for years now. It's tough for us to lose tough meets like we have."
Plainfield is now 13-4 overall and 6-0 in the league.
"We're both tough teams," Gunn said. "We know that whenever we wrestle against each other, nobody is going to roll over. We know that every time its going to be a dogfight."