Wrestling Underdogs

Wrestling Underdogs

This season, we’ve had a number of first and second year wrestlers who had lots of success. Since this is their first year, they had to learn a variety of different skills and rules before they were allowed to compete. Even through these challenges, they all persevered and improved immensely throughout the course of the season. I had the chance to talk to not only the wrestlers, but some of the coaches about the improvement of these wrestlers. Take a look at how far they’ve come!

Jacob Solis

Jacob Solis (grey) putting ITW Speer’s Luis Cruz in a cradle at Ridgewood High School. (Mariah Castillo)

Jacob Solis, a freshman who just ended his first season as a member of the Elmwood Park Wrestling Team, has a bright future with the sport. During this season, Solis won the Freshman Tournament hosted at Elmwood Park High School, his first high school tournament. Since then, Solis has worked hard to push himself to become a highly successful wrestler.

Coach Mike Summerville, an assistant coach with the program, had remarkable words about Solis’s future with the program. “For a freshman, he shows a lot of experience and will greatly improve if he keeps practicing his skills. I see him going further into the postseason if he continues to work during the off-season”. Next season, Solis hopes to achieve 15 wins and possibly place at the IHSA Regional Tournament.

Michael Aiello

Michael Aiello (gray), shaking hands with opponent, O. Dyllan (maroon) before his match at Ridgewood High School. (Mariah Castillo)

Michael Aiello, a Junior at EPHS, had the best record on the team this season. He achieved this record of 20-15 in his first year in the program. Aiello started the season without any previous wrestling knowledge or experience. He has since turned into one of the most successful wrestlers on the team. He placed 3rd and 6th at two large tournaments, and placed 2nd in the 120 weight class in the conference.

When talking to head coach, Neil Posmer, he told me that Aiello “…did a good job for his first season on the team. Next year he can continue to improve and possibly be a sectional qualifier. I predict that next season he could possibly have 30 wins if he puts in the work”. One thing that Aiello was proud of this season was beating his expectations about his record. He hopes to achieve 20 wins next season without forfeits.

Sky Vazquez

Sky Vazquez (grey) wrestling a senior from OPRF (orange) on their senior night. (Liliana Corbett)

Sky Vazquez, a freshman on the EPHS Wresting Team, has a lot to show for her first season. She placed 2nd at the Weiss Tournament, 3rd at the Dundee Crown Girls Tournament, and 5th place at Regionals. Another accomplishment of Vazquez was qualifying for Sectionals her freshman year.

Coach Gary Shulze speaks highly of Vazquez saying, “Sky has shown big improvement over the course of the year. I feel she is able to compete and beat a number of the girls who she’s lost to at the beginning of the season. Her potential can take her as far as she wants to go in her future wrestling career.” Sky’s biggest accomplishment was having more wins than losses. Her record was 12-9. Next season, Vazquez hopes to improve and place 1st at a tournament.

Quentin Rodriguez

Quentin Rodriguez (grey) wrestling against ITW Speer’s Perez (maroon) at Ridgewood High School. (Mariah Castillo)

Quentin Rodriguez is among one of the upcoming stars on the EPHS Wrestling Team. In his first season, he has one of the best records on the team. Rodriguez even won a match during the IHSA Regional Tournament. He has had a highly successful season, with a record of 12-18.

When talking to assistant coach Gary Shulze, he had nothing but positive remarks about Rodriguez. “He’s a talented wrestler, with a lot of mat sense. He should start progressing rapidly now with a year under his belt. Over the course of the next 3 years, I see him as a State Qualifier before he graduates. I felt comfortable putting him on the varsity team against certain schools he could hold his own against.”

When talking to Rodriguez, he said that one thing he wants to improve on for next season is his single-leg takedown.

Zachery Molina

Zach Molina posing for Varsity Media Day. (Dave Porreca)

Zachery Molina has been named one of the most hard working wrestlers by his coaches, and it’s easy to see why. During the season, Molina worked hard every practice, striving to get better for the next match. Even after his season came to an end after his Regional, Molina has been coming to practice to help his fellow teammate Rose work towards her sectional. All the coaches had nothing but positive remarks about Molina when I asked who they believed was the most improved this season.

When I interviewed the assistant coach, Mike Summerville, he said, “He is a good hearted person that is willing to be involved in the sport of wrestling. He will go far if he continues his goals. In his next 2 years, I see him placing in the Regional Tournament”. When looking back as his season, Molina’s biggest accomplishment was learning how to do a spladdle. Looking towards next season, Molina hopes to qualify for sectionals.

This season has had a lot of positives, especially for the future of the EPHS Wrestling Program. These wrestlers have had remarkable success, and with the help of their coaches and their off-season progress, they have a bright future. With the Elm Middle School Wrestling Team having large amounts of success, we have lots of new talent coming to the high school to improve the program exponentially. I look forward to seeing the success that not just these wrestlers will have, but the program itself.

Works Cited

  • Michael Aiello. Personal Interview. (February 7, 2024)
  • Zachery Molina. Personal Interview. (February 7, 2024)
  • Head Coach Neil Posmer. Personal Interview. (February 7, 2024)
  • Quentin Rodriguez. Personal Interview. (February 5th, 2024).
  • Assistant Coach Gary Schulze. Personal Interview. (February 5, 2024).
  • Jacob Solis. Personal Interview. (February 7, 2024)
  • Assistant Coach Mike Summerville. Personal Interview. (February 7, 2024).
  • Sky Vazquez. Personal Interview. (February 7, 2024)

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