Wrestling: Oak Forest mops up at home regional
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media February 8, 2014 6:48PM
Updated: February 9, 2014 2:24AM
Oak Forest’s Alan Durham is making up for lost time.
Competing last season at the conference meet as a sophomore, Durham broke his left ankle.
He made a comeback attempt at regionals two weeks later, but one match in he had to quit, the ankle injury proving to be too much.
Healthy and ready to make a run to the state tournament, Durham was one of six Oak Forest wrestlers to win their weight classes Saturday, the host Bengals dominating their Class 2A regional with 272 points to second-place St. Laurence’s 164.50 points.
The team regional title was the first since the 2008-09 season.
“This year, I’m trying to make up for last year,” Durham said. “We had six advance last year, 10 this year, and it looks pretty good for the team. We had a good shot at regional last year but lost to Lincoln-Way West. It’s a beautiful thing making history as a team.”
Oak Forest moves on to compete at the Bremen dual team sectional.
The top three finishers in each weight class advanced to next week’s De La Salle individual sectional.
Durham (120 pounds) won with a late pin (4:30) against Tinley Park’s Trevor Koepke after battling through two close periods.
“The moves I was using to finish him, he was closing up on the bottom and playing good defense,” Durham said. “It was close, and he wasn’t letting me get to where I had been (in previous matchups). He wrestled tough.”
Other winners for Oak Forest included Danny Swan (113) over St. Laurence’s Bill Touhy (injury default), Mousa Jodeh (126) over Lemont’s Egan Berta (5-3), Joel Barker (160) over Rich South’s Tyler Veal (injury default), Nick Raziano (195) over Rich East’s Aaron Bouie (10-7) and Geri Mallett (220) over Bremen’s Josh Jones (6-3).
St. Laurence senior Johnny Gahagan made it a perfect 4-for-4 in his high school career, winning his fourth regional title by pinning Rich East’s Cameron Dean in 4:13.
“It’s been at the top of my list since the regular season ended,” Gahagan said. “I wanted to make it four. I knew I had to come out aggressive and stayed on the offensive the whole time.”
Gahagan improved to 34-0 this season.
St. Laurence’s Frank Tomaskovic (285) was the Vikings’ other champion, beating Oak Forest’s Rob James by a 22-4 technical fall.
The 106-pound match featured a battle of two of the top-ranked wrestlers in the state. And for Rich Central’s Jabari Moody, his 9-5 championship win over Oak Forest’s Francis Edelen was particularly special.
Last season, Moody didn’t compete in the postseason, allowing his brother, Nkosi, to compete at 106. Nkosi finished second in the state to Swan.
“It’s been hard getting the weight down to 106, but once you get it, it’s worth it,” Moody said. “I’ve got that better strategy for making state. I was trying to work on takedowns and get him down.”
Other championship matches included Tinley Park’s David McDonald (132) over Oak Forest’s David O’Donnell (16-9), Lemont’s Jim Brennan (145) over St. Laurence’s Taylor Mallder (pin 1:34), Bremen’s Ryan Foster (152) over Rich South’s John Kriha (8-4), Tinley Park’s Eric Schutlz (170) over Oak Forest’s Patrick Kristin (3-2) and Bremen’s Javier Soto (182) over Rich South’s Cody Ralston (pin 1:40).
Third-place finishers were St. Laurence’s Brandon Ramos (106), Kyle Tetlow (182) and Josh Smith (195), Bremen’s Brent Ochoa (113), Lemont’s Ryan Glynn (120), Adam Strube (132), Jake Kirkman (138) and John Polk (152), Tinley Park’s Ceasar Clark (126), Hillcrest’s Paul Sewell (145), Rich East’s Latrell Burden (160) and Steven Simmons (285), Rich South’s Victor Roberson (170) and Rich Central’s Raekwon Pittman (220).