Korbecki leads Maine West to 3rd at Wheeling Invite

Senior displays more aggressive style while winning 138-pound title

By Dennis Mahoney info@CSLinsider.com
December 12, 2011 01:46 PM

One of the ways Maine West coach Lance Weber is pushing his veteran wrestlers this season is to prod them to keep trying to score points even when they have the lead in a match.

It’s a formula that has definitely paid off for senior Jake Korbecki so far.


Korbecki claimed Maine West’s only championship at 138 pounds Saturday at the 27th annual Wheeling Wildcat Invitational, and the Warriors added five runner-up finishes while earning their best team finish in at least 10 years at the tournament.

South suburban power Sandburg won the team title with 248 points, followed by Lane Tech (163) and Maine West (136) in the nine-team field.

Second-place finishes by Colin Gratz (132), Rico Zayas (145), Ben Kindle (160), Rogilio Rodriguez (220) and Robbie Jones (285) also showed that a recent emphasis by the Warriors’ coaching staff encouraging an aggressive approach up and down the lineup is making a tough team even tougher.

Korbecki has significantly increased his scoring from a year ago, and piled up six points in the first period of the championship match on his way to an eventual 9-5 victory over Dan Garcia of Sandburg. Korbecki improved to 15-1 on the season overall after pinning Bill Novak of St. Laurence in 1 minute, 58 seconds and blanking Patrick McFadden of Wheaton Warrenville South 7-0 to reach the finals.

“I was coaching over on another mat, and it was really nice to look up and see that Jake had already scored six points in the first period,” Weber said. “He’s scoring on a lot of takedowns this year. We’ve been working with all of the guys on letting people go (for one-point escapes) and then pushing and working for more takedowns. Jake’s doing a better job of that this year. He’s not satisfied with just hanging onto a lead.

“We haven’t been this successful as a team in years past at Wheeling, so I’m pretty happy with the way we finished. This is a tough tournament that shows you where you stand and what you need to work on. We were actually second (in the team race) going into the semifinals and wrestlebacks, so it was a little disappointing to drop down to third. And then in the finals we ended up on the wrong end of a couple of close ones.”

At 132, Gratz suffered his first defeat of the season. He advanced to the title bout with falls against Mike Bikulcius of Wheaton Warrenville South (1:34) and Brandopn Arteaga of Lake Zurich (3:43), then saw his 14-match winning string snapped in an 8-2 loss to Sandburg’s unbeaten John Pellegrino.

“Colin got a takedown right away, but then the other guy really took control of the match,” Weber said.

Kindle dropped a low-scoring championship match at 160, where an early takedown and a couple of escapes added up to a 4-3 win for Lake Zurich’s Scott Hoff. Kindle is now 13-3 on the season.

Rodriguez, after recording two first-period falls, was outscored 8-2 by Lane Tech’s Danny Murray in the finals at 220. Heavyweight Robbie Jones lost via pin to Igor Romanowski of Wheeling, in 22 seconds, and Max Schneider of Lane Tech pinned Zayas in 40 seconds at 145.

Sophomore Adeel Afshar contributed a fourth-place finish at 113.
On Friday, the Warriors routed Highland Park 57-17 in a Central Suburban League North dual meet. Gratz and Zayas scored falls for the winners.