Central wrestlers earn spot on podium

Hinsdale Central wrestlers Cody Tavoso and Marko Ivanisevic had their sights set high when they headed to the IHSA Class 3A individual state meet Feb. 16-18 in Champaign.

"Some people get happy just to be a state qualifier," varsity wrestling coach Jason Hayes said. "They had expectations to get on the podium and earn All-State, which they did."

Tavoso, a senior wrestling at 138 pounds, came in fourth. Junior Marko Ivanisevic placed fifth in the 220-pound weight class.

"I think Cody wrestled very tough," Hayes said. "He had a strong tournament. He was the fourth seed in the tournament and he took fourth."

Tavoso was in a loaded weight class, Hayes said, facing Rich Township's Nasir Bailey, ranked No. 2 nationally, in the semifinal.

He lost in a major decision to Bailey, then came back to win the consolation semifinal before losing in tie-breaker to Lorenzo Frezza from Stevenson.

"After I lost in the semis, I just focused on getting the next best, which would have been third," Tavoso said. "I lost in double overtime in that match.

"I'm proud of the way I wrestled," he added "I left it all out there. Losing in overtime like that, it's tough, because you know you're so close to winning it. It could go either way."

He enjoyed rooming with Ivanisevic at the state meet.

"We shared some good laughs," he said "Both of us were not very satisfied with our results. It's always nice to have a teammate there with you to talk about it."

Tavoso's disappointment in not achieving his career goal of winning the state title, is tempered by the success he had this season.

"I broke Hinsdale Central's single season pin record," he said. "That was a little highlight."

The team won its first conference title in school history and Tavoso joined Juwan Edmond and Brian Allen as the only Red Devil wrestlers to place at state all four years.

He also is looking forward to continuing his wrestling career at Princeton University.

"I'm really excited for next year. It's going to be a new chapter," he said.

Ivanisevic also faced some tough competition at state, losing a very tough semifinal match, Hayes said.

"He ended up coming back and getting a fifth place medal, which is awesome," Hayes said. "It's something to motivate him in the off-season."

Ivanisevic said his goal had been to improve on his performance at state last year.

"My goal for the year was to place higher than fifth," he said. "It was a lot of pressure. That was one of the downfalls. I wish I told myself I should just have fun with the sport and have no pressure."

He said winning his first match by major decision was the highlight of the meet.

"Last year, I had a real tough time my first match at state finals. It kind of just shows growth and progress of my wrestling career."

He said he's anxious to get back in the gym and thanked his coaches for their support.

"Coach Jason Hayes, Conrad Polz and Ernest Battaglia really helped me out a lot this season, got me through the tournaments and the matches," he said.

Hayes credited Tavoso and Ivanisevic for the work they put in outside regular practices, at early morning workouts and late-afternoon sessions.

"They put a lot of time into the sport and really care about it," Hayes said, noting that's what it takes to succeed.

The state finals are extremely tough, Hayes said.

"You have to have your 'A' game every single match, from Round 1 all the way to your last match," he said. "It's hard to get on that podium."

Gymnast places 32nd

Senior Audrey Austin was the only Hinsdale Central gymnast to qualify for state and she did so in a single event, floor exercise.

She earned an 8.2 to place 32nd at the IHSA girls gymnastics state tournament Feb. 17 in Palatine.

"Audrey has really worked hard this year," varsity girls gymnastics coach Kim Estoque said. "She upgraded her last pass, which helped her make state. It is hard to do one event and wait so long before competing, but she did a great job."

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean