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Putting in the work : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Putting in the work
Oswego's Cook pleased with preseason effort, ready for Moline Quad

by Kristin Sharp


The opening week of the Oswego wrestling schedule has been a busy one for the Panthers, with head coach Andrew Cook putting the pieces together in advance of Wednesday's season opener.

A deep playoff run by the football team into the Class 8A quarterfinals left the wrestling room void of several veterans who were still on the football field.

Cook will get to see just how well those pieces fit together with Wednesday's dual meet against Yorkville followed closely by Saturday's Moline Quad featuring Alton and Normal U-High.

"Alton is coming up from the St. Louis area and they're a tough 3A school," Cook said. "We got out of the Barrington tournament this year, which is going to be good for our kids. Traditionally, we have a lot of football players and traditionally we make playoff runs and we just couldn't handle going into that tournament."

Junior Andrew McFall is a returning state qualifier for Oswego, winning 33 matches at 106 last year. He is expected to move up to 120 for much of the season, but will start at 126 due to weight restrictions.

Senior Nick Schultz, who was a state qualifier as a sophomore, returns after his junior season was abruptly ended with a broken leg late in the season. Senior Nick Aguirre returns after qualifying for sectionals at 138 and winning 26 matches, while junior Jack Pradel was also a sectional qualifier last year, returning from a 26-win season at 120. Pradel is expected to enter the lineup in mid-December at 138 after recovering from a preseason injury.

"We're going to have a bunch of new faces representing the Panther wrestling program," Cook said. "Some kids have had success at the different levels and they're working their way up."

When Oswego returns from Moline, it will get its first look at Southwest Prairie Conference competition, traveling to Plainfield East next Wednesday. The Panthers finished fifth in the SPC meet last year behind champion Minooka. Oswego will host the SPC meet on Feb. 1.

"It's a tough conference. Plainfield East is going to be tough this year and Plainfield South has some really tough guys as well and Oswego East has tough kids too," Cook said. "It's going to be a fight, that's for sure."

Oswego will enter the Russ Erb Tournament at Glenbrook South Dec. 20-21 before returning to Palatine's Berman Classic Dec. 27-28. Oswego will host its Orange and Blue Mega Duals on Jan. 11 before the Batavia Invite on Jan. 18.

"Once everybody gets down to their weights, we're excited about what's going on," Cook said. "Everybody is working hard and it's a great group in the room so far. It is a very hard-working group. They don't know exactly where they can go and how high they can get. It's going to be a battle to make sure we get to where we want to be with our team goals. In practice, we talk all the time about doing what we do for the Panther wrestling program and working to improve that. They've raised the bar every practice to get to the higher level. The work ethic is there. Now hopefully that translates into success on the mat."

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