Devils ready for winter opponents

Gymnastics and wrestling seasons underway, swimmers have first meet on Friday

The Hinsdale Central athletes who compete in these winter sports will spend the next few months tumbling, stroking and grappling to the best of their ability, hoping to make it into post-season competition.

This is the second in a three-part series. Boys and girls bowling and hockey were featured Nov. 24, and the boys and girls basketball previews will run Dec. 8.

Girls gymnastics

First meet: Nov. 23 @ Hornet Tournament (V placed 3rd)

Last year: 2nd in conference, 2nd in regionals, 2 individuals competed at state

Head coach: Kim Estoque

Seasons as head coach: 18, 32nd year coaching

No. team members: 13 (JV1 and varsity)

Strengths: I think they're all very hard working. A lot of them have improved over the off-season, so that's a huge help. I think our beam is - right now - one of our strongest events.

Challenges: We don't have a superstar. We don't have a level 9 or 10 coming in. Kelly Klobach was that last year and before that was her sister, Caroline.

Who to watch: Senior all-arounder Charlotte French, who made state last year. All-arounder Audrey Austin, who is also a senior. She got hurt last year, so she didn't finish out the season. And all-arounder Hazel Hamelka. She's a junior. She has really improved over the summer.

Outlook: Hopefully we'll be in the top three in our conference and then do well in regionals and sectionals. We have a lot of work to do.

Furthermore: The girls are all great kids. They all work hard. You can't ask for much more.

Boys swimming

First meet: Dec. 2 @ Waubonsie Triangular

Last year: 9-0, 1st at conference, regionals and sectionals, 2nd at state

Head coach: Bob Barber

Seasons as head coach: 9

No. varsity team members: 19

Strengths: They put in a really good preseason, off-season training. We have lots of returning state swimmers.

Challenges: We have more state-level finalists than we do spots, so keeping everyone interested, engaged and motivated to surpass last year's finish will be probably our greatest challenge internally. (Externally) you can never count out the people who won it the year before, so Stevenson is going to be a challenge for us. They are very fast.

Who to watch: I have nine returning state qualifiers - seniors Andrew Gilbert, Andrew Fix, Noah Priest, Sammi Kassir; juniors Brody Marcet, Jeffrey Hou, Nate Harris, Noah Bertulis; and sophomore Josh Bey. Key returning athletes - senior Vidar Carlbaum, he's going to go from JV2 conference to being a state finalist; sophomore Henry Guo; and freshman Matt Vatez, age-group state champion.

Outlook: Honestly our humble goal is to do better than we did last year - going after our 19th title. We're fortunate enough to be able to give an undefeated season a run. We're looking to improve on New Trier Relays and state. Through maturity and motivation, we've been able to fill a few of the gaps that were created through graduation. We don't have as many gaps as our opponents do.

Furthermore: I've been fortunate enough to coach a lot of very talented teams, to be able to work in Hinsdale for over two decades. This one's potential is up there and it will be a really fun season to watch, both on paper and in person.


First meet: Nov. 22 vs. Naperville North (V won 37-32)

Last year: around 500, two individuals competed at state

Head coach: Jason Hayes

Seasons as head coach: 14

No. team members: 14 on varsity, 70 in program

Strengths: We have a senior class that's had some experience, despite the pandemic.

Challenges: Staying healthy, keeping our starters healthy. Wrestling is a long season. Depth is one of our challenges, getting more depth for the program. Our starters are pretty solid, but we're a little inexperienced on the depth chart. Kids are working hard, though. We've got a tough schedule once again.

Who to watch: Marko Ivanisevic at 220 won the Barrington invite and Cody Tavoso at 138/145 took third. Fernando Chavez at 106, he just took fifth. We've got Liam Ryan (10th in Barrington) at 132/138, he's wrestling both. We've got Zach Kruse (10th in Barrington) wrestling at 160. Aaron Perez at 145. Hunter Hamdan at 152, Taylor and Tyler Riggi, at 170 and 182, all these guys have varsity experience coming back.

Outlook: I don't know where other teams are at - if we can compete for regionals or conference. It just depends how everything lays out, how the season progresses. Kids are working hard. They have a tough schedule. We're training them hard, teaching them to be better human beings outside of wrestling. They learn a lot in this wrestling room and we push them every day so they can be successful later in life.

Furthermore: We have six girls out this year. Girls wrestling is taking off a little more in Illinois. We're trying to have girls wrestle girls vs. girls wrestle boys.

Author Bio

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean