After a rousing team hotel Shabbaton, the Ida Crown Wrestling Team charged into action Saturday evening at the IHSA Class 1A Regional in Melrose Park. For more than a decade, this regional tournament has been specially scheduled to accommodate the Academy’s Wrestling Team. It is the only such high school tournament in the country to be so scheduled, and, in doing so, the Academy wrestlers epitomize some of the finest attributes of being bnei Torah in the modern world.
Against a tough tournament field, ICJA took fifth place out of nine teams with a score of 72.5 points. Defending champion Lisle won the tournament with 212 points.
Leading the way for the Aces was Junior Bentzy Osgood (138). Osgood, who spent the first part of the week in bed with a bout of the flu, began the tournament with the #2 seed. In the quarterfinals, Osgood earned a major decision against Dominic Lopardo of Lisle with a dominating score of 14-1. In the semis, #3 seed Jose Carrillo of North Chicago was leading Osgood in the final period until Osgood caught him in a tight headlock and pinned him with :54 seconds left on the clock. The after-effects of the flu were evident, though, on Osgood as he fell in the finals to state qualifier Christian Zubiate of Westmont. Osgood put Zubiate on his back twice during the course of the bout and proved himself to be a first class competitor.
Junior Enon Gurvich (126) claimed a third place podium position of the second consecutive year. He dropped to tough 5-0 decision to eventual champion Norbert Guzik of Lisle in the semis, but roared back to score a 22-6 technical fall against Quang Dang from host school Walther Christian.
Senior Captain Meir Cohen (145) lost his semi-final match to Alex Blanco of Walther Christian, but then showed great mental toughness and grit in fighting his way to the medals podium. Cohen pinned Carlos Martinez of Westmont in 1:22, then followed with a second first period pin against Chris Calderisi of Northridge Prep to claim the bronze medal.
Like Osgood, Senior Captain Ray Goltz (152) began his week stricken with the flu. Drawing the #2 seed in the most competitive weight class of the tournament, Goltz opened his account with a 2:24 pin over Jebyon Holmes of North Chicago. Goltz started out strong his semi-final match against Lisle’s Jack Kelly, earning the initial takedown and putting Kelly on his back. Kelly, though, fought out of the predicament and took advantage of Goltz’s condition to grind out a major decision. Goltz, though, fought back through consolation bracket to claim third place, pinning Guerin’s Peter Hofman and Northridge Prep’s Michael Kopecky along the way. Goltz wasted little time as he pinned both in the first period.
Freshman Avi Zeller (132) also claimed a third place medal in his weight class to complete ICJA’s medal haul.
Freshman Menachem Reed (106) and Sophomore Chuck Moscovitch (195) took fourth place in their respective weight classes. Reed’s semi-final match was notable for his tough performance against Saul Trejo of IC Catholic Prep. Trejo just happens to be the #1 ranked wrestler in the state at that weight class.
“This is the youngest team we have ever brought to regionals,” observed Assistant Coach Bill Porter, “In light of that, we wrestled very well and provided hints of good things to come.”
On Thursday, the Wrestling Team traveled to New Jersey for the 25th edition of the annual Wittenberg Wrestling Tournament, the national championships of yeshiva wrestling. The finals will be broadcast live on Sunday afternoon, February 16th, beginning at 4 PM CST. The broadcast will be available on the Yeshiva Wrestling Association Facebook page.