Outdoor wrestling is a rare sight in the Midwest, but after the COVID-19 pandemic moved the season, Central and North competed outside. This feature story is presented by Edward Medical Group.
Seeing football played under the stadium lights in the springtime is a strange sight into itself, but watching the wrestling mats laid out on the football field on a warm Friday night is a whole other level of bizarre.
“I mean when has wrestling been Friday night lights in Naperville when is the cross town classic been wrestling you know thanks to all the fans and the parents I wish we could’ve had more but I wish we can do this every year”
With wrestling being moved to late spring because of the COVID 19 pandemic, this year’s wrestling version of the cross-town classic between Naperville North and Naperville Central wanted the spotlight out on the gridiron. With this Higher Risk sport-taking place in the spring, it was a perfect fit for a safer and fun environment according to Naperville North head coach Tom Champion.
“with the spring wrestling the first thing I did was call coach Fitzenrieder and said we’re doing an outside meet I don’t care if it’s raining I don’t care if we gotta get a giant tent we’re wrestling outside under the lights it’s gonna be fun and Noah jumped on board and made it happen so win-win”
A win-win indeed as the event took place in a safe matter and the wrestlers themselves liked the safety planned into the competition.
“it’s a lot safer to be outside but I think we thought it just be really cool to start a really cool you know experience for everybody to be out in the middle of the Football field where usually it’s the football players through the stars today it was the wrestlers but yeah it was just a lot safer and a lot more cooler”
The outdoor meet itself was one remember. Naperville North took a 21-7 lead, much to the excitement of the Huskie wrestlers and fans. But the Redhawks responded, outscoring the Huskies 35-3 the rest of the night. The final match featured Central’s Tommy Porter who is back from an injury and getting a win was the perfect return. At the end of the day, wins and loses aside, it was an experience these wrestling rivals will never forget.
“this is a first for I think most of us it’s awesome to you know obviously have the opportunity for a wrestling season let alone wrestle outside vs our cross town rivals you know not the outcome we wanted but you just gotta make the most out our opportunities these days so it was a fun night”
“it was really fun to be back especially against our rivals North and even more especially outside so it’s probably never gonna happen again it’s never happened before so it was really cool experience not only to be back against but to be outside too it was really fun”…“I was lucky I was the last match so I got like the full darkness an the lights which is really cool so just really cool experience”
Reporting for Naperville Sports Weekly I’m Patrick Codo