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The Ida Crown Jewish Academy wrestling team has had a busy start to its 2014-2014 season. The team is young, featuring only three returning varsity starters. The team is also hindered by a lack of heavyweights and a lack of depth in a number of weight classes. Nevertheless, the Aces have proved themselves to be a tenacious lot.

ICJA opened the season before Thanksgiving with a match against Maine East’s varsity. Maine East won, 54-15, but junior Ofri Ben David (126), sophomore Raphi Chernoff (138) and senior captain Jacob Zwelling (195) all earned victories against tough competition. Junior Ilan Kaissar (132), freshman Yosef Marcucci (132), and freshman Zachary Frank (138) also won their matches.  rank’s match was particularly exciting, as he scored the decisive takedowns with two seconds to go in the match to win, 10-9.

After break, the Aces traveled to wrestle a squad from #10 ranked Deerfield High School. The Warriors had their way with the Aces, defeating them 57-4. Sophomore Aili Lafer (120) provided the sole ICJA victory with a 13-3 triumph. ICJA had better results against Deerfield’s freshmen as freshmen Erez Kaissar (120) and Avi Dobkin (120) notched their first career wins with impressive pins. Frank provided another highlight, pinning his opponent in :37 seconds.

The wrestlers took on Elgin next in a tri-meet at nearby Niles West. Senior Mordechai Lis (138), junior Nate Bomben (152), sophomore Joey Silverstein (170), sophomore Ethan Lewis (106), Lafer, and Ben David tallied wins, but the Aces lost, 42-34. Lis pinned his opponent, while Bomben scored a major decision. On the frosh mat, freshman Joseph Dimbert (106) and Marcucci recorded pins.

ICJA then faced off against a Niles West squad. On the varsity mat, Lafer, Ilan Kaissar, Bomben and Zwelling all emerged victorious from their matches with Kaissar and Zwelling both having first period pins. Niles West won, 51-18. Marcucci and Frank also had pins on the freshmen mat.

On Tuesday, ICJA journeyed to River Grove to take on St. Francis de Sales and Guerin Prep. The Aces earned their first two team wins, as they downed St. Francis, 41-9, and Guerin, 23-15. Lewis, sophomore Sam Bellows (120), Chernoff, Bomben, senior Dovi Garfinkel (160), Silverstein, and Zwelling led the way against St. Francis. Lewis, Bomben, Silverstein, and Zwelling all pinned their foes, while Chernoff had a technical fall of his. Against Guerin, Lewis, Frank, Silverstein and Zwelling won their matches.  This time around, Frank and Zwelling had pins and Silverstein earned a technical fall.

The Aces continue their campaign with the home opener against New Trier on December 11.

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