With the regular season in the books, Mt. Carmel junior Rehan Uribe wasn’t pleased with his overall record.
However, those losses were all against some of the best wrestlers in the state and the Midwest as the Caravan annually competes in several loaded invitationals. Uribe took another step toward state on Jan. 12 as host Mt. Carmel beat the Crusaders 55-18 in a Chicago Catholic League (CCL) dual meet.
Uribe took down Br. Rice’s Hassan Johnson with a 4-2 overtime decision at 120 pounds, and he said the regular season was just the start.
“Our schedule is one of the toughest, competing at Ironman, Dvorak, Cheesehead, with a lot of hard matches and a lot of good competition,” Uribe said. “I’m building from my mistakes and getting ready for conference and state.”
Mt. Carmel will host the Chicago Catholic League (CCL) meet on Jan. 19 and 20, with the state regionals beginning on Jan. 27.
To win the CCL title, the Caravan, ranked No. 3 in Class 3A, will have to get through No. 1 Montini.
“This year, we’re trying to go as far as we can,” said Mt. Carmel junior Miles Hoey. “The goal is first [at state as a team]. Montini is there, but we’re looking to wrestle them tough.”
For the Caravan, the highlight of the dual meet was Uribe versus Johnson. Uribe squeaked out an exciting overtime win against Johnson, who is ranked No. 3 at 120 in Class 2A.
“He came out really tough, really strong,” Uribe said. “I knew if I kept breaking him down, I could break his spirit and eventually come out with the win. The biggest thing is staying calm. If you let your nerves get the best of you, that could be the match.”
Hoey (St. Barnabas) claimed a 9-0 major decision at 138 pounds.
After getting moved up from JV for an occasional match as a sophomore, Hoey is making the most of his varsity experience.
“I’m trying to get better and see if I can get up on the podium with the rest of the team,” Hoey said. “We’re looking good, but we have to keep working.”
Other winners for the Caravan included sophomore Colton Drousias (106, fall 1:45) and freshman Nikolas Mishka (220, fall 1:26). Mt. Carmel picked up 6 wins by forfeit.
Br. Rice senior Myles Ruffin prevailed in an exciting match at 285 pounds, beating sophomore Jalen Grant in a 3-1 decision.
In a tough, grind-it-out match, Ruffin struck in the final 10 seconds for the winning points.
“I was in the standing position, and I tried to keep my legs back and work my time,” Ruffin said. “At the end, he tried to shoot in, and I sprawled on him and spun him around to get the 2.”
A star lineman on the football team as well, Ruffin finished third at state in Class 2A wrestling last season. With a long postseason ahead of him, Ruffin’s not looking too far ahead, but his goal is obvious.
“I want to finish on top,” Ruffin said. “That’s what you come out here to do. You want to win. I’ve got to work harder on my takedowns. I’m getting them easier this year.”
Gerardo Chavez (126, fall 3:23), Dominick Murphy (160, Fall 2:59) and Paul Gliva (170, 3-1 decision) were winners for the Crusaders.
In a ceremony before the meet, Mt. Carmel and Br. Rice honored the late Coach Bill Weick. Former wrestlers, coaches, friends and family were in attendance to honor the legendary wrestling coach who died in August 2017 at age 85.
Weick coached at both schools. He won three straight team state titles with the Caravan in 1992, 1993 and 1994.