State Wrestling: Oak Forest takes third in Class 2A
By Logan Malloy For Sun-Times Media March 1, 2014 10:12PM
-Evan Broniarczyk (top), of Oak Forest, won his match against Cahokia with in the 182-pound class during the third-place round of the Class 2A wrestling team state finals. | Vincent D. Johnson/for Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 3, 2014 7:03AM
BLOOMINGTON — Danny Swan said he didn’t anticipate Saturday’s dual team tournament to be so much fun. That’s not to say Oak Forest’s two-time state champion entered the state tournament without expectations. Priority No. 1 was leading Oak Forest to its first state trophy in program history.
The Bengals used a 59-7 romp over Cahokia at U.S. Cellular Coliseum to take third place in Class 2A. Oak Forest topped Harvard 49-12 in the quarterfinals but fell to Geneseo for a chance to take on Montini, which won its seventh straight state title, in the championship.
The Bengals had advanced to team state just once before and fell in the quarterfinals.
“We’re really proud of what we’ve done this year, but I know next year we can do better,” Swan said. “We can be in the state finals. I really believe that.”
The Bengals received wins from Swan, Mousa Jodeh (126) and Patrick Kristin (170), all state-placers as juniors and dependable cogs in the lineup.
Alan Durham (120), David O’Donnell (132), Collin Sleeman (145), Joe Muller (152), Evan Broniarczyk (182), Nick Graziano (195) and heavyweight Rob James added victories for Oak Forest in its third-place match.
Joel Barker, the lone senior, secured a first-round pin in his 160-pound bout against Deandre Brown to give Oak Forest a 12-0 lead.
“It’s tough going to meets and being the only (senior). It can be kind of lonely,” Barker said. “But I’ve got a great team. It’s a lot of juniors, and I have faith someone will replace me in the lineup. This has been quite the experience for us.”
The turnaround looks complete for Oak Forest coach Shawn Forst. After notching just six wins in his first year at the helm, Forst’s squad ripped off 16 wins last year and finished 24-2 in dual action this season. With an abundance of juniors, the Bengals might be even better next year.
“When the season came together, we did hope to be this good,” Forst said. “We’re happy to be here and pleased, but we thought we were going to be really tough. Then the kids fell in the right spots in the lineup and we were solid all year.”
Francis Edelen, a state finalist at 106 pounds, did not compete for the Bengals after suffering a concussion in his state championship match against Rich Central’s Jabari Moody.
“It was really hard to watch and not wrestle,” Edelen said. “I wanted to be out there so bad. I think over the next couple years, we’re going to make a run. Maybe we could win the state title next year.”