Dundee-Crown continued its postseason success last week by cruising to its own regional championship--Zinke's seventh--topping second-place Fremd by 42 points.
Now comes perhaps the most difficult weekend for the Carpentersville school. Dundee-Crown advances three wrestlers, 103-pound sophomore Tim Hayes (38-3), 112-pound sophomore Brad Fiorito (38-7) and 125-pound senior David Silva (38-2) to the state individual tournament Friday and Saturday at the University of Illinois.
Just three days later, the Chargers have a legitimate shot to advance to the state dual team tournament for the first time since 1990. The road will be difficult. They face Buffalo Grove, winner of their own regional, Tuesday for the chance to compete against either undefeated Libertyville or Waukegan, which took fourth as a team last year, and earn a bus ride to Champaign.
"This is a really difficult time," Zinke said. "First because we have to leave a couple of coaches behind to stay with the rest of the team and get them prepped and ready. It's a little disappointing to stay in school for those extra days and coach the team, then rush down Friday night so you can see the Saturday semis. Then you're rushing back to run practice right away.
"But this is what it's all about. This is what you work for all year. This is why you played other sports and worked so hard in the off-season."
Part of the joy this season for Zinke has been its overall surprise. The Chargers lost every weight class from 140 on up to graduation and were looking for leadership from sophomores and untested seniors. The Dundee-Crown roster at the beginning of the season looked more like a potential junior-varsity squad, with six sophomores and two freshman.
"We knew that after losing all those seniors, it was up to us to pick it up," Fiorito said. "If we were going to be a good team and qualify for the sectional, we all had to work a lot harder. But we also knew that from 103 to 140 [pounds], we would be really strong."
The best surprises for Zinke came in areas he least expected. Two seniors, Teddy Brennan at 145 and Tyler Johnson at 152, started to show dramatic improvement around the holiday season. Brennan and Johnson capped a late second-half surge by capturing regional titles in their weight classes.
The weekend ahead will be a marathon for Zinke, Hayes, Fiorito and Silva as they change their strategies from one-on-one competition Friday and Saturday into setting the stage for a team rally against formidable opponents. Zinke is aiming for the trio to come away with medals. Once the team reunites Sunday, it's a whole different game.
Said Zinke: "I'd like to see all of these guys on the medal stand. That's our goal, and I expect them to be there. At state you have to be aware of matchups. Strengths for strengths, weaknesses for weaknesses.
"As a team I don't think there's any stress on us. We're not supposed to beat anybody. We are not a dominating team. We are a hard-working, good team."
Source : http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2002-02-14/news/0202140283_1_dundee-crown-seniors