With a stacked roster and experience, wrestlers eye the IHSA title
March 28, 2016
A season ago the Sandburg Wrestling team went to the state finals in search of their sixth team IHSA State Championship. They fell short to their rival OPRF in an unbelievable matchup of two of the nation’s top wrestling teams. In 2016, the Eagles are back again and gunning for the State title which will take place on Saturday February 27th, 2016.
Just three years removed, another state title is well in the reach of the Eagles who are currently ranked third in the State. The team was ranked #1 in the state at one point in the season as well. This tight knit group who recently appeared as #15 in the rankings of the nation’s top wrestling teams has learned very strong leadership from veterans. Rudy Yates (one of the most decorated wrestlers in IHSA history), Louie Hayes, Ben Schneider, Kevin Stearns, Pat Brucki, John Prieto, Brian Krasowski, and Christian Robertson. It is experience, skills and leadership that the Eagles has that makes them different from the others.
Senior Louie Hayes has no doubt about the Eagles abilities and chances at a state title.
Hayes said, “I feel good about our team. Our program has a good history of peaking at the right time.”
The University of Virginia commit added, “We have dealt with a lot of injuries and sickness but I think we are ready for the post season.”
The Division I athlete is also one of the most highly regarded wrestlers in the state and has been a part of the Eagles Varsity coached by Eric Siebert since his freshman year. Louie was a part of the 2013 state title team.
Senior Ben Schneider also felt the Eagles responded well from the injuries.
Ben Schneider said,“We got past the injuries and we are peaking at the right time.”
The ability to bounce back and wrestle in pressure packed situations is something the Eagles are very good at it, and they look for that to carry them in the long run.
In January, the Eagles took part in the Cheesehead National Tournament in Wisconsin. This is one of the top tournaments in the country for teams to wrestle in. The tournament included six of the top 50 teams in the nation. The Eagles had to deal with a very competitive slate. The Eagles fought through the tough competition and ended up earning second place as a team.
In late January, as the number one team in the state at the time, the Eagles hosted their duals. During this, they took on #2 OPRF and #3 Marmion. The Eagles were short-handed with notable veteran Christian Robertson out. The Eagles wrestled to the best of their abilities and fell to Marmion by just one point. Later on that day, in a state finals rematch the Eagles gave OPRF all they could handle but missed the opportunity.
However, this resilient group was able to bounce back and come back firing as always. The Eagles stormed onto the scene at the conference championship held at Stagg High School. There, they won the conference and had seven individuals take first place. The Eagles were set on course with heavy momentum going into the most crucial part of their season.
Schneider said,“This shows that we can definitely win a state championship if we wrestle our best.”
Needless to say, this Sandburg team is unbelievably dangerous, and they are looking forward to the challenged that lie ahead in the next few weeks of the season. With their coaching and talent, a state title could certainly be in their future.