The North Star

NNHS Boys Wrestling shows promise with strong leaders and teamwork

Juliet Falanco

Juliet Falanco

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Experienced leadership and excellent performance has led Naperville North’s wrestling through a successful last few seasons. This year’s season has high expectations and high school matches for senior varsity members such as Lucas Van Poucke, Ben Kruk, and Gabe Matar.

NNHS wrestling coach Thomas Champion explained his thoughts and perspectives on this year’s group of wrestlers and their positive attitude.

“[They are] a very mature group. They act like college wrestlers in the room which helps the entire room train better,” Champion said. “More than a few younger kids are going to be in the varsity lineup where as last year most of our lineup was made up of experienced varsity wrestlers.”

Senior captain Lucas Van Poucke believes the team can succeed at a high level based on previous years and the experienced upperclassmen who have grown together in the sport to push them forward.

“This year the team is more tight knit and everyone is in it for each other. We’ve had a ton of varsity experience starting off freshmen and sophomore year and we just now know each other really well,” Van Poucke said. “We work hard for each other and back each other up.”

Senior varsity wrestler Gabe Matar expressed his thoughts on this season’s leadership.

“Some years captains lead the practice a little more than others. I think this is one of those years where the coaches could rely on us more to get practice going and go through conditioning,” Matar said.

Ben Kruk, also a senior varsity captain, explained how being a strong leader is setting a good example, being on task, and doing more than your most.  

“[Leaders] help out the coaches and making things easier for everyone,” Kruk said.

The team has proven to have many strong members of all classes and successful seniors. Coach Champion shared his opinion on the leadership of all the seniors and their passion for the sport.

“There is something about senior blood. It’s a senior’s job to set the tone, like how hard we’re going to work, how hard we are going to perform, win or lose. Do they show gamesmanship? Do they act appropriately, win or lose? Do they encourage the next guy regardless of winning or not?” Champion said. “We have some great leaders on that senior team. We actually have so many leaders we didn’t have enough captains spots for them.”

The team’s first meet is today, Tuesday, Nov.  21 at Hinsdale Central. Varsity competes at home on the Nov. 25 against Minooka, Mt. Carmel, and Belleville West.

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NNHS Boys Wrestling shows promise with strong leaders and teamwork