Bey helps OPRF edge Marist; New Trier finishes 1-2
Updated: March 9, 2013 12:19AM
CHICAGO — Marist and Oak Park-River Forest’s wrestling teams — ranked by IllinoisMatMen.com as two of the three best Class 3A squads in the state — traded the lead five times in their dual Saturday before Huskies freshman Kamal Bey put an emphatic end to the match.
Bey pinned Marist’s Dan Drew at 2:31 to give OPRF a seven-point lead with one match remaining. The third-ranked Huskies forfeited the final match and dethroned the state’s top-ranked team 26-25.
Bey and Drew appeared evenly matched throughout their first period, but Bey’s determination increased when Drew sent him flying into Marist’s bench early in the second period.
“I was just trying to stay in (the match),” Bey said. “But when he threw me over the Marist crowd, I had to come back. I was like, ‘I’m not about to lose. Not to this dude.’ He just made me mad.”
“I’m very excited for him,” OPRF coach Mike Powell said. “I’m very excited that he was able to block out (the weight of the moment) and focus on what he needed to do.”
The Huskies received a huge boost from their talented freshman class in key moments Saturday. Freshman Gabriel Townsell won a 14-8 decision over junior Mike Mullaney at 113 pounds and freshman Isaiah White won his match 12-3 at 126 pounds against freshman David Kasper to pull the Huskies into a 13-13 tie with six matches remaining.
The Huskies split their next four matches — sophomore Larry Early collected four points with a 15-3 victory over freshman Nick Gasbarro at 132 pounds and senior Zach Pickering earned three points with a 7-2 victory over senior TreJon House at 152 pounds — before Bey’s pin clinched the match.
“It’s certainly one of the most exciting things I’ve ever been a part of as a wrestler,” Townsell said of the Huskies’ dramatic victory. “The camaraderie that we had as a team was just great. I felt the energy more toward the end than the beginning. I just like the way our team is able to get up for big matches.”
The showdown between Marist and OPRF was during the final round of the Marist Thanksgiving Wrestling Quad, which also featured New Trier and Schaumburg.
Marist and OPRF breezed through their respective matches against the Saxons and Trevians. The closest match either program faced in the first two rounds was the Huskies’ 52-15 victory over Schaumburg. While New Trier was dominated by two of the state’s top teams, the Trevians bounced back and beat Schaumburg 38-37.
New Trier senior MJ Pritchard went 1-2 Saturday, but battled against OPRF’s Matt Rundell and Marist’s Mark Duda, who are both ranked in the top seven in the state at 120 pounds by IllinoisMatMen.com. The experience of going against the state’s best is something Pritchard believes will be an asset as the season progresses.
“I think it prepares us for the rest of the year, so if we’re facing hard teams like this now it will make us more prepared for conference and state,” Pritchard said. “It benefits the team in the long run. Maybe we won’t have as good of a record, but we’re still going to be stronger than if we would have gone and wrestled teams that aren’t as good.”
Pick up your local Pioneer Press newspaper Thursday to read more about the OPRF and New Trier wrestling teams.