Senior wrestlers put up a fight

Jarrale Daniels, Sports Editor

A man once said that to win you must be tough. He believed that to win in life, one must be the toughest man on the field, mat, turf, etc. However, on Wednesday, January 14, 2015, my perception was changed a little. On this night, Joliet West hosted Lincoln-Way East for a wrestling meet. After watching the freshman suffer a tough defeat to East (12-24) and the junior varsity (JV) hang on to their lead against the Griffins (36-30), it was time to watch the seniors get recognized in the stifling heat of West’s main gym.

There was one senior on JV, three seniors on varsity, and two senior wrestling managers to be recognized. Molly O’ Connell, the junior varsity wrestling manager, was honored for her contributions to the program. She has been the junior varsity wrestling manager for three years. O’Connell was escorted by her parents, Pat and Sue O’Connell. “I was happy walking across but sad at the same time knowing that this was my last year as a wrestling manager at Joliet West,” commented O’ Connell. She also runs distance in cross country and throws discus in track.

Lauren McKay, senior varsity wrestling manager, was recognized as well. She was escorted by her mother, Angie McKay, and fellow manager Alexus Rico. “At first I was really nervous to be in front of that crowd but as soon as they said my name, I had nothing but pride,” said McKay. McKay has been the wrestling manager all four years of her high school tenure at West. “Since I have been involved with the program, I can honestly say it has been the highlight of my high school years,” proclaimed McKay, “I don’t regret anything about the last four years.” She also participates in softball.

The first senior wrestler to be recognized was Daryl Pointer. He was escorted by his father, Daryl Pointer. He has been wresting since fifth grade. Pointer is part of the junior varsity wrestling team and wrestles 126. Pointer commented “I was a little nervous, but I knew I had to go out there and get the victory.” Pointer scored a crucial victory for the junior varsity team against Lincoln Way East’s 126 pounder. Pointer contributed three points to the JV team. “The kid came out tough and ready to wrestle” reflected Pointer on the match, “but I came out tougher and got the victory.”

Josh Henley was the next to walk the floor. He was walked down by his dad and grandmother. Henley was a transfer from Joliet Central. He wrestled for Central prior to transferring and this is his fifth year wrestling. Henley commented, “Kind of makes me sad that I did three whole years at Central, and then had to leave all my friends to come to West for my senior year.” He continued with, “This is a good school and I enjoy it here.” Henley is the 132 pounder for Joliet West on the varsity level. He was set to face the Griffin’s Shaun Wasso. Henley defeated Wasso 4-2 giving the tigers three points.

Following Henley was Lajon Davis, who was escorted by Michelle Davis, his mother. Davis has wrestled all four years at West and is the starter for the 152 spot on the varsity level. He faced off against Lincoln Way East’s Mike Graf in a hard battled contest. Davis commented “My match was a tough one but it wasn’t anything that could stop me from winning.” Davis ended up walking away from the bout victorious, winning 9-7. Commenting on the win, Davis said, “It felt relieving gaining those three points for my team giving my team a chance to come back and win.” It then all was in the hands of the senior 170 pounder for Joliet West to seal the victory.

This was Jesse Hurtado. Hurtado’s parents, Margarita and Sergio Hurtado escorted him across the floor of the main gym in front of the crowd. Hurtado has been wrestling for three of his four years at West. He is currently the 170 pounder for the varsity squad. “I started wrestling my sophomore year and I fell in love with it,” reflected Hurtado. He continued saying, “It pushes you to limits you would have never believed possible.” Hurtado was up against Lincoln Way East’s Brian Burns. The score of the meet was very close (28-23), adding more pressure. For West to win, Hurtado needed to defeat Burns by points giving the Tigers a 31-23 lead. West forfeited the 182 and 106 bouts giving East the points. Hurtado put up a tough fight and was determined, he however could not secure a victory and lost by points to Burns (10-3). “It was a mental blow to have everyone supporting you and not bring home a win,” said Hurtado, “but I have to learn from my mistakes.”

There is no doubt that West was tough that night. They had seven wrestlers score points (Ben-Isreal [195], Poch [113], Henley [132], Johnson [138], Zizich [135], Davis [152], Mahn [160]), however so did East. Two of East’s victories were by forfeit. The Tigers gave their all, but certain things went wrong that night. Sometimes in life, toughness does fail. However, the true definition of tough is bouncing back from defeat.