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Red Devils battle in pool, on mat, ice

Boys swimming, wrestling, hockey programs are the focus of winter preview finale

 

December 12, 2019 | View PDF

Jim Slonoff

The Hinsdale Central varsity wrestling, boys swimming and hockey teams are working to put forth their best competitive efforts representing Red Devil Nation this winter. (file photos)

The Hinsdale Central boys swim & dive and wrestling teams have begun their 2019-20 seasons, and the Central hockey club started back in September.

Central boys swimmers are sharpening their strokes in pursuit of another top-10 finish at state, while the wrestling team has a number of veterans with postseason ambitions. The hockey program has had a strong first half of its season and is looking stay hot on the ice.

This is the third and final installment in the winter sports preview series. Previous stories appeared in the Nov. 21 and Dec. 5 issues.

Hockey

First game: Sept. 17 vs. St. Rita (V won 8-2)

Last year: 20-8-4 in Illinois West; reached fourth round of state tournament

Head coach: Jim Swoyer

Years as head coach: three

Roster size: 20

Team strengths: They’re very much of a team. In the beginning of the year we took the team to Minocqua, Wis., for “Battle Camp.” We practiced twice a day, did ziplining, off-ice training and on-ice training. I think they really bonded and got to know each other.

Areas for growth: Our focus is to reduce our goals against. We have some mental lapses and some breakdowns defensively. We need to clean that up. We are able to put the puck in the net, we just need to do a better job of keeping the puck out of the net.

Who to watch: Senior forward Jack Ferrino is leading the league in points. Junior forward Michael McCormick moves the puck well and just focuses on playing the game and doesn’t get distracted by other stuff. Junior defenseman Louis Naphin, we feel like we can pretty much put him into any situation and he will hold his ground and do what he needs to do.

Season outlook: We had three goals heading into this season: win the Illinois West (league), finish in the top 10 in the state and go deep in the state tournament. The majority of our games have been against top teams in the state. We want to compete with the best teams in the state, and that’s what we’re doing. Two different times this season we’ve been ranked in the state’s top 10, and I would expect us to continue to grow and get better so that by the time we get into January and February, we’re going to be right where we want to be.

Boys swimming

First meet: Dec. 6 @ St. Charles East Tri-Meet (V places 2nd with 123 points)

Last year: seventh at state

Head coach: Bob Barber

Years as head coach: 6

Roster size: 21

Team strengths: We are very deep in the breaststroke and the individual medley. We’re starting to show potential in the sprint freestyle and backstroke. Our relays kind of show off our depth and that we have a lot of kids that are involved in swimming. It allows for more participation and helps us get a lot more points.

Areas for growth: We had quite a few kids graduate last spring that went on to swim in college. Unfortunately we didn’t know how we were going to fill many of the holes. I think our growth is two-fold: giving the kids an understanding of what voids we can fill and understanding what the good challenges and good goals should be for us. We don’t quite have a defined past, and that’s a good thing. We’re just working hard.

Who to watch: Senior Cullen Cochlan is a Pitt recruit and is a key component as a returning state qualifier in the butterfly and a relay member finalist; junior Nolan Lahmann swims backstroke and butterfly and the medley relay; senior Michael Benington in the IM and a state qualifier in the 500 freestyle; senior Alex Daw, a Saint Louis University recruit, in the IM and breaststroke; junior John Tischke in freestyle and butterfly; and junior Erkan Ozgen in sprint freestyle, with the potential to fill holes for us.

Season outlook: We don’t really know in conference where we fall. There are lot of strong teams, and it looks like LT could run away with it, so we’re going to be chasing them both at conference and sectionals. Any given year, we’re looking to be a top-10 team.

Wrestling

First meet: Nov. 26 vs. Naperville North (V loses 30-31)

Last year: 4th at regionals

Head coach: Jason Hayes

Years as head coach: 11

Roster size: 41

Team strengths: We’ve got some guys that have some experience this year. We have a heavy senior class, a few juniors and a couple of sophomores. They know the expectations and the toughness of our conference and that every match counts, every point counts.

Areas for growth: We just focus on getting better every week and focus on the process, not only physically but mentally as well. Every match is going to be a grind, and we need to make sure that we’re getting better and wrestling our best come late January and February.

Who to watch: senior captain Ron Kruse, junior captains Chris Robinson and Andrew Perez, senior Mark Skokna, sophomore Thomas Skokna, junior Daniel Aviles and junior Tim Song. Those are guys who have some experience.

Season outlook: I think we’ve got a few guys that can get down state individually. Every match is preparation for the tournament series. You have to approach it all as preparation. We’re also teaching these kids to be better human beings and to overcome adversity. Are you going to dwell on the negative or are you going to bounce back?

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean

Email: kknutson@thehinsdalean.com
Phone: 630-323-4422, ext 103

 
 

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