Wrestling: Sandburg’s Hunter Pindel gets chance to shine, makes most of it
By Logan Malloy For Sun-Times Media January 30, 2014 8:10PM
Hinsdale, IL - Saturday, December 21, 2013: Hunter Pindel (Sandburg) wrestles Dardan Kardiu (Rolling Meadows) during 182 pounds 3rd place bout of the Rex Whitlatch Invitational. Pindel won 8-2. | Steve Johnston/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 3, 2014 4:35PM
Bide your time. Wait your turn.
It sounds easy, but try telling that to a competitive athlete buried deep on the bench. It’s not something he’ll want to hear.
Hunter Pindel can empathize.
Glued to Sandburg’s bench behind three individual state champions — Colin Holler (South Dakota State), CJ Brucki (Central Michigan) and Ricky Robertson (Wisconsin) — Pindel didn’t see much action in his first three years with the Eagles.
Instead of pouting or looking to transfer, Pindel bided his time, grinding away in the practice room.
He finally earned his spot in the starting lineup this season as a senior. All he’s done is go 33-3 while winning the SouthWest Suburban Tournament, becoming one of the area’s top 182-pounders in the process.
“Cracking the lineup was great, but that’s not where I wanted to end it,” Pindel said. “I wanted to end it by being one of the captains of this team. By keeping the team going and by being there for (my teammates) when they needed it.
“It’s a great thing to win as a senior,” Pindel added. “It shows my teammates that if you work hard, this is what happens.”
With Sandburg coming off back-to-back state championships, coach Eric Siebert has had plenty of good athletes champing at the bit despite a low spot on the depth chart. Siebert said it’s those who are willing to put in the time and work their way up — such as Pindel — who have helped make the program one of the best in the state.
“On an individual level, it can be tough because the kids might see they could be wrestling elsewhere,” Siebert said. “But I think they want to be part of something special. When high school kids think about participating for a particular team that’s not only recognized in the Chicago area, but also in the state of Illinois — or maybe even the Midwest or the entire country — they want to be a part of that.”
Pindel echoed a similar sentiment.
“It’s exciting to be part of Sandburg’s wrestling team and call myself an Eagle,” Pindel said. “I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I had to work to where I had to get, and look where I’m at now. I’m a conference champion.”
Patience is a virtue.