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Wolves (almost) ready to wrestle : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Wolves (almost) ready to wrestle
Wolves (almost) ready to wrestle

by Kristin Sharp


The Oswego East wrestling team has some preseason injuries and inexperience to overcome before the Wolves are competing at full strength, but it's a long season before the state series kicks off in early February.

Junior Zach Prinz falls into the injured category and is not expected to return to the lineup before late December, but the returning state qualifier is among Oswego East's top returners after he posted a 34-6 finish in the 170-pound weight class. Prinz is expected to move up one weight class to 182 this season. He is currently ranked No. 5 in the preseason state list.

"Right now he's a little banged up coming off the football season, so he won't be wrestling right away," Oswego East head coach Mike Jezioro said. "We probably won't see him before winter break."

Oswego East had three sectional qualifiers last year, with two graduating last spring, but the Wolves return a group with varsity experience. Senior Joel Torres returns after an injury-shortened season last year after suffering a broken hip. He should fill in at 195.

Senior Mason Miller returns to the mix at 145 while senior Steve McMahon returns to heavyweight.

Despite the experience in the upperweights, Oswego East will be giving up 12 points early this season with forfeits at 106 and 113. Jezioro expects newcomers like freshman Andrew Okayama to impact the lineup at 138 and freshman Kendall Elfstrum at 170 in addition to sophomore BJ Hill at 152.

"We don't have a lot of little guys. Our numbers are great, but out of our 70-some guys, we only have one guy who weighs under 120 pounds," Jezioro said. "We're going to be hurting down low. We've got a couple guys who will work their way into the lineup and will be some talented wrestlers.

"Knowing going in that we'll be giving up 106 and 113 every dual, the guys are going to have to make up for that," Jezioro continued. "Giving 12 points to anybody, no matter how good they are, is tough throughout the year, but there are still 12 other weights we can wrestle at and make up for it. The guys need to realize they need to do things to make up for that."

Oswego East got its first test on Wednesday, hosting DeKalb with results unavailable at press time. The team will enter the Jacobs Mega Duals on Saturday at 9 a.m. Southwest Prairie Conference action follows on Dec. 4 with Oswego East hosting Plainfield North at 6 p.m.

Oswego East finished sixth in the SPC one year ago behind champion Minooka.

"We're probably only going to be starting three, maybe four seniors. Looking at our scores, we might not justify what kind of team we are this early," Jezioro said. "We will probably be starting at least two freshmen and three or four sophomores in the mix. That early on in the year, it's not an easy thing to expect the guys ready to come out of the gates and win their first six high school matches."

Instead, Jezioro will look to shift into more competitive squad at the Krupke Invite at Lake Park on Dec. 21, with the Newbill Invite at Geneva following on Jan. 11.

"By Lake Park, I don't know if the lineup will be set, but I'd like to see us wrestling at the high level we expect here," Jezioro said. "Looking at our schedule, our young guys will get 13 duals in the first 10 days so we'll throw them in the fire right away. We'll back off after that and have time to work on some things and correct our mistakes. By Lake Park, we should be wrestling at a higher level."

Oswego will host the SPC tournament on Feb. 1, with the regionals arriving on Feb. 8.

"Our goal is to advance as many guys in February as possible. I told the guys the other day that the most we've ever had go to sectionals is five in one year and I would love to send eight or nine," Jezioro said. "We still haven't got a state medal yet and our big goal is to get someone to win one of those medals in Champaign."

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