Wrestling: Oughton primed to lead Minooka
By Logan Malloy For Sun-Times Media November 25, 2012 4:54PM
Junior K.J. Minor (left) and senior Corbett Oughton (right) are seen in Minooka High School Monday, Nov. 19, 2012, at 301 S. Wabena in Minooka. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
(in alphabetical order)
Lemont: The Indians advanced 10 to the individual state tournament last season. State medalist Chris Giatras will spearhead the charge for coach John St. Clair.
Lincoln-Way Central: Last season, the Knights finished second in the 16-team SouthWest Suburban tournament, the 27-team Berman Classic and the Andrew Regional.
Lockport: The Porters graduated a pair of state champions (Shaun’Qae
McMurtry and Brad Johnson) but eight of 14 starters return, led by state medalists Brian Rossi and Austin Strzelczyk.
Minooka: The program lost state champion Jake Residori to graduation, but the Indians return eight of 14 starters from a team that reached the state quarterfinals.
Plainfield Central: The Wildcats return three regional titleholders from a squad that captured the Neuqua Valley Regional.
Wilmington: A premier program in Class A, Wilmington returns three individual state qualifiers from a team that gave Leroy, the state champion, its toughest dual match of the postseason. Wilmington lost 27-24 in the state quarterfinals.
(in alphabetical order)
Jordan Ellingwood, Sr., Plainfield Central: Ellingwood took third in the state at 182 pounds last season. He conquered Southwest Prairie competition to finish with a 43-5 overall record.
Kyle Langenderfer, Sr., Lincoln-Way East: State champion at 138 pounds, the Illinois recruit will look for his second title and fourth state medal at 145.
Robbie Mikenis, Sr., Lincoln-Way Central: A state medalist at 132 pounds, Mikenis won tournaments at Batavia and Hoffman Estates.
Nick Nassenbeny, Jr., Plainfield Central: Nassenbeny
finished fourth in Class 3A at 120 pounds for his second state medal. He added regional, sectional and Southwest Prairie titles.
Corbett Oughton, Sr., Minooka: Navigating one of the toughest weight classes in the state, Oughton placed fourth at 145 pounds with a 43-6 record. He won regional, sectional and Southwest Prairie titles.
Andy Rodawald, Sr., Wilmington: A regional and sectional champion, Rodawald finished second in Class A at 132 pounds with a 36-3 record.
Brian Rossi, Sr., Lockport: A regional and sectional champion, Rossi finished third in Class 3A at 106 pounds.
Trayvon Zabala, Sr., Joliet Central: A two-time SouthWest Suburban champion, Zabala placed third in state at 113 pounds with a 36-3 record. He also claimed regional and sectional titles. He was state runner-up at 112 pounds two seasons ago.
Updated: December 27, 2012 6:13AM
It says a lot about a program when a state quarterfinal appearance is met with a measure of dissatisfaction.
For Minooka, that was the case last season after the school grew accustomed to a three-year run that featured a trio of state final appearances and a 2010 state championship.
New coach Jeff Charlebois understands the expectations surrounding the program. He was a member of the championship team, helping lay the foundation for eight years as an assistant coach before taking the helm at Oswego for the past two seasons.
“I’m excited to get Minooka to the point where we’re getting our trophy again,” Charlebois said. “I know people in the program, people in the Minooka wrestling community, they don’t like to see an Elite Eight appearance. They want to see a trophy every year.”
While Minooka graduated six of its starters, including 2012 state champion Jake Residori, the cupboard is anything but bare.
State medalist Corbett Oughton returns along with state qualifier K.J. Minor and six other starters.
Oughton, a regional, sectional and Southwest Prairie champion, finished fourth at 145 pounds in one of Class 3A’s premier weight divisions.
Oughton is a longtime wrestler with roots in Minooka’s Little Indians program, and he’s hoping to use that experience to set the tone for the team.
“Coming in as a freshman, I was under a lot of good senior leaders,” Oughton said. “I want to be a good leader for these young guys now.”
Oughton brings an impressive wrestling pedigree to that mat, but he’s also an explosive athlete. Oughton hadn’t played football since his freshman year, but as a senior decided to go back out for the team. He racked up six interceptions and an All-Conference nod at cornerback as one of Minooka’s top players.
“I’ve got a little funkiness to myself on the mat,” Oughton said. “I’m good at scrambling, so when kids think they have a good move or points, I can flip it over and get myself points.”
Minor, a state qualifier at 106 last season, is another wrestler to watch. The junior will be back in the same weight class and has his sights set on becoming a state placer.
“My speed is my biggest strength,” Minor said. “It also helps that I’m older than most of the 106 pounders.
“(I thought about a move up), but I didn’t grow enough. I feel like I can use my experience at that weight class. I’ve matured a lot since my freshman year.”
Minooka is known as the cream of the Southwest Prairie Conference, but statewide it might fly under the radar as much as any powerhouse can.
“People are expecting huge things out of (Oak Park-River Forest), Marist and Sandburg.,” Charlebois said. “Those are the people everyone is targeting. We’ll gladly go about it workman-like and try to close that gap and try to get ourselves prepared for February and see if we can shock the OPRFs, Marists and Sandburgs.”