Vernon Hills pins its way past Maine West

By Mike Garofola
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 12/3/2021 9:19 PM

A pin-happy Vernon Hills, led by Garry Gurevich, and Max Accettura, rolled over host Maine West, 54-30, Friday night in Central Suburban League wrestling action in Des Plaines inside the Warriors' new field house.

The Cougars received 6-point pins throughout their lineup, plus a forfeit, to claim the CSL season opener over the Warriors (0-3-0, 0-1-0), who were even with their guests at one time (30-30) before coach Jesse Wolter's team took control for good with four consecutive falls.


"We didn't know what to expect after losing three starters from a year ago, two of which were potential state qualifiers, and another who had a very good chance of bringing home a state medal," began Wolter. "But we did so much better at our own Thanksgiving 15-team tournament, finishing second overall, with Gurevich and Accettura each winning their weight class, and two others earning second-place medals.

"It was a good start to our season, and it was great to see the guys come out and continue our early-season success."

Gurevich and Accettura would each run their record to a perfect 5-0 after recording pins on Friday -- Gurevich with a pin at 3:49 at 145 pounds, with Accettura needing just 54 seconds to finish off his heavyweight opponent.

"With me, it's all about having confidence, which was something that had been missing because I was always so nervous right before my match," said Accettura, who hopes to follow in the footsteps of Jeremy Brazil, who back in 2012 won the first state title in program history at 285 pounds.

"Max has the chance to be a very good wrestler. He works hard and wants to be the very best," said Brazil, who is an assistant under Wolter.

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"I want to make my senior year, for myself and the team the best it can be and I know I am confident in my wrestling and I feel like I can say the same about my teammates," said Gurevich, who dominated the 138-pound division last weekend at the Cougars' Thanksgiving Invite.

Tournament runner-up Jake Psaras (195) registered a pin at 1:42 Friday, while Will Ludolph went out to a 4-0 advantage early into the second period, before collecting his fall at 2:30 at 160 pounds.

The Warriors celebrated pins from the trio of Matt Westerlin (113), Claudio Castellanos (138) and junior Jason Hidan (152) plus a forfeit to earn their 24 points.

"We're a work in progress here at the start of the season. We've faced some very competitive opponents and have had some challenges due to attendance and forfeits, but we're close to getting back to full strength and when we do, I feel like we can have a quality starting lineup that will be able to compete," said Warriors coach Chris Brassell, who was especially thrilled with Castellanos.

"Claudio gave up the first takedown but stayed composed, strong on his feet, kept his position, then threw his opponent to his back with a big throw before getting his pin," said Brassell.

"Both Gary and Max lead the way for us. They are cut-throat type of wrestlers who look to pin their opponents and early on, they have been the two who have really stepped up and the rest of the team has followed," said Wolter.

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