Wrestling: Maine South rolls into showdown with New TrierNiles, 1/7/11--Terry Calkins, (right) of Maine South, and Scott Smith, of Notre Dame, battle it out in the 120 lbs weight class. | Vincent D. Johnson~for
Updated: January 10, 2012 7:05PM
Make it a late dinner because this one is for all the marbles.
Maine South, seeking its sixth straight CSL South title, enters deliciously hostile territory at 6 p.m. today in Winnetka to face more experienced New Trier.
Terry Calkins, the Hawks’ lone returning state qualifier, will collide with fellow 120-pounder Chris Alcock in the marquee match. Both are juniors ranked honorable mention in Class 3A by Illinois Matmen.
Calkins (22-2) earned a two-point decision over Notre Dame’s Scott Smith on Saturday, helping the Hawks to a 30-27 victory over the host Dons. Alcock has five losses, including a 5-4 defeat to Smith, who is ranked No. 10 in 2A.
“Alcock is hard to wrestle. He’s funky and long,” said Calkins. “I’m looking forward to it. I think I’m a lot better this year on my feet and with my mental toughness, confidence and endurance.”
Calkins was 20-8 as a freshman and 37-7 a year ago. His only losses this season are to Dakota’s Josh Alber (No. 1 in 1A) and Prairie Ridge’s Eric English, honorable mention in 3A.
“Terry is special. He has improved dramatically,” said Maine South head coach Craig Fallico. “He has put in so much work to get to the next level. A medal at State is realistic for him. He just needs to get better offensively on his feet.”
Maine South (15-3, 3-0) has but four seniors. One who appears to be on a mission is Danny Brewster, currently 21-4 at 138. He went 31-6 last season, but a 6-4 sectional loss on stalling calls cost him a trip to the state meet. Older brother Joe was a state qualifier for the Hawks, and muscular sophomore brother Tommy (145) is already a defending CSL champion.
New Trier (14-2, 3-0) brought back nine starters and seven sectional qualifiers. Senior Jack Conner (152) leads the Trevians, although their highest-ranked wrestler is sophomore Colin Kenyon, No. 12 at 106. Conner, Alcock and 113-pound junior M. J. Pritchard each has earned honorable mention.
After a bit of a slow start, Maine South’s many first-year varsity wrestlers have stopped looking like rookies. The Hawks swept their last two quads, placed second at the Homewood-Flossmoor Invite and edged Notre Dame, which is ranked No. 3 in 2A.
Winners against the Dons included senior heavyweight Nick Schaefer with a match-deciding pin in the second period, Calkins, senior co-captain Tony Mastrolonardo (126), Danny and Tommy Brewster, on-the-rise juniors Matt Williams (132) and Zach Taalman (160), and Steve Naughton with a big pin at 170.
Senior co-captain Michael White (195), junior Mike Garvey (152) and freshman Jimmy Kasch (113) are among the Hawks who have surpassed expectations.
Maine South and Notre Dame have met since 2005 in memorial tributes to former state qualifiers Brett Harman of the Hawks and Kevin McCann of the Dons. Best friends since age 5, the two were fatally shot in an incident at North Carolina State University on Labor Day weekend of 2004. The shooter was sentenced to life in prison without parole, and his accomplice brother is serving a minimum of 50 years.
“It doesn’t matter who wins, but this always comes down to the last match. Our guys must have a ball up in heaven looking down and watching this,” said an emotional Fallico.
Maine South’s stamina and depth will be tested over a three-day period. After their showdown at New Trier, the Hawks host Evanston on Friday in their final conference dual and compete in the Batavia Invite Saturday.