A series of close losses in head-to-head competition with New Trier over the past few years denied Evanston’s wrestlers an elusive Central Suburban League South division championship.
The Wildkits were not to be denied Friday night.
Coach Rudy Salinas’ squad thumped the Trevians by a 56-21 margin and earned Evanston’s first division title since 2004. A bunch of determined seniors who weren’t about to graduate without a win over their arch-rivals to the north accounted for most of the six falls scored by ETHS.
“We won the conference my first year as head coach (2004) and it seems like we’ve been second about 10 times since then,” said Salinas after his team was recognized during the third quarter of Friday’s girls basketball game at ETHS. “Hard work and preparation met opportunity tonight, and that’s how we won the championship.
“Winning the conference is a goal that keeps us driven and focused during the (regular) season, and when we talk with the kids about setting goals, I say shoot for the moon and even if you fall short and land in the stars, you’re still in a good place. Success is not a destination, it’s a journey. But we’ll enjoy this moment.
“In the past, we fell short in our execution against New Trier. This year we finally followed through and we executed. It’s a credit to these kids, especially the seniors, because I could see in their faces that this has been a long time coming for them. Now it’s something to put on their resume. It’s rewarding — and we deserve it. We worked hard for it.”
Senior standout Dylan Kull notched Evanston’s first fall of the night, nailing Quinn Kelly in 53 seconds at 132 pounds, and the Kits tacked on five more falls, a technical fall and a major decision while also earning forfeit victories at 106 and 113.
At 152, Max Morton racked up a 21-4 technical fall over Max Levy and the rout was on. Ricardo Salinas pinned Jack Cummings in 1:32 at 160, older brother Rafael Salinas notched a pin in 2:34 versus Steven Preston at 170, and Walker Witt scored the quickest pin of the night, dispatching Tommy McDermott in 34 seconds.
Ulysses Alva joined the pin parade at 195, defeating Ben Schulz in 63 seconds, and senior Ramin Abraham remained undefeated at 220 with a 21-8 trouncing of D.J. Zovan. Heavyweight Collin Olla-Chatman contributed a fall in 3:34 over Ashwin Radindran to finish off the rout.
Evanston completed a 5-0 season sweep of league foes and improved to 23-6 on the season overall.