Oak Park-River Forest’s freshmen aren’t being treated like rookies anymore and they’re not wrestling like newbies, either.
Freshmen Isaiah White and Kamal Bey both beat returning state placers to highlight a stunning comeback for the Huskies Wednesday night against Montini.
Down 14 points after nine bouts, No. 2 Oak Park swept the final five matches to earn a hard-fought 34-29 victory. It was Montini’s first loss to an Illinois opponent since the Broncos lost 30-21 to Sandburg in the Class AA state final in 2007.
Johnny Gahagan, whose decision clinched the Huskies’ victory over No. 3 Sandburg on Jan. 12, put Oak Park ahead for good with a 3-1 overtime decision against Luke Fortuna at 145 pounds. Then Bey won 9-5 over Michael Sepke at 152, holding off Sepke’s bid for a tying takedown on a scramble at the edge of the mat with less than 40 seconds left and getting the clinching takedown in the last five seconds.
“It’s kind of nerve-wracking,” Bey said of having the match rest on his shoulders. “But when I see my team and how much they want it, I realize that I can do anything.”
Oak Park’s comeback started with White’s 3-1 victory over Jordan Laster at 126, making it 29-18. Sophomore Larry Early won 11-3 over Jose Champagne at 132 and Jake O’Mara pinned Chris Garcia in 2:44, cutting the deficit to 29-28 and setting the stage for Gahagan and Bey.