Boys wrestling opens season against Niles West

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Wrestling looks to repeat last year’s victory in their opening match against Niles West, but the struggle to replace last year’s senior class could pose a threat to their prospects.

“We need to find guys who are going to create themselves and create an opportunity to step into those shoes,” said coach Rudy Salinas. “It’s exciting to see who we’ll find to fill these spots and it’ll take hard work to do so.”

The loss of seniors like Ben Morton, Malik Pratt and James Marshall-Davis will have a big effect on the team this season. Overall, the team is replacing eight seniors.
A strong Niles West team will be a good early season test of these new wrestlers. “Those are the weight classes Niles West is strongest in,” said Salinas. “ If we can find guys that will step into last year’s spots then we’ll be in for a showing and repeat of last year’s success.”

Senior captain David Rivera-Kohr, who represents the Kits in the 126-pound weight class, is one wrestler who will help the team achieve this goal.

“He is someone who can lead by example and has very good work ethic,” explained Salinas. “If he stays with his game plan we expect him to be in the finals again.”

Rivera-Kohr is starting the season strong after placing second at preseason nationals in October. “I’m right where I want to be,” said Rivera-Kohr. “I’m just excited to get the season started and do what I do best.”

Rivera-Kohr is looking for redemption from last season. “He missed an opportunity to place in state last year and it’s been driving him all offseason,” said Salinas. “This showed in how prepared he was for the preseason tournament.”

The boys have a busy schedule this month, as they will take on Niles West, Glenbrook South and then compete in the Evanston Quad. “It’s nice to get these conference games out of the way early on,” added Salinas.

The team has some big goals for this season, but they have a lot to live up to after such a successful season last year.

“We want to control conference and win it,” said Salinas. “We haven’t done that in a long time but we dominated last year.”