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Wrestling: Oswego downs Oswego East in rivalry match

Oswego East's Dan Moran battles Oswego's Charlie Kirkwood during 195-pound bout. | Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media

Oswego East's Dan Moran battles Oswego's Charlie Kirkwood during a 195-pound bout. | Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 6, 2012 10:35PM

Though the years, Oswego East wrestling coach Mike Jezioro has had to look across the mat at a former coach or teammate and coach against them.

He found himself in the same position in Thursday’s Southwest Prairie Conference dual meet against crosstown rival Oswego.

His former assistant coach Andrew Cook is the Panthers’ new head coach, but there is more than just a working relationship at play. The pair played football together at Elmhurst College and even stood up in each other’s weddings in addition to coaching together for the better part of a decade.

“The thing I’ve figured out is how to separate the two,” Jezioro said. “I told Cook, ‘Hey listen, love you, but when the whistle blows, I don’t care who you are, we’re trying to beat you.’ Then when it’s over, we can go back to being friends. I’m sure there are some friendly wagers I’ll have to pay up, too.”

The two coaches had time to discuss just that after Cook’s Panthers rallied to beat Oswego East, 43-29. After starting at 170 pounds, Oswego East built a 19-6 lead after the heavyweight match. But the Panthers responded by winning six straight matches from 106 pounds through 138 to take control of the match.

Pins from Jack Pradel (120) and Brandon Mickelberg (132), both in the first period, a major decision from Nick Schultz (126), a decision from Nick Aguirre (138), a disqualification and a forfeit gave Oswego (6-3 overall, 3-0 SPC) a 37-19 lead.

“We make sure that we work hard in practice and all of us lower weights practice with each other hard,” Pradel said. “We just try to do our best and get a win. Honestly, our goal is to get a win for ourselves and for our team. Whatever we can do to make that happen is what we do.”

Nik Wadsworth started the meet off at 170 for Oswego East (7-7, 1-2) with a pin. Dan Moran (195) had a major decision and Steve McMahon (285) earned a pin to give the Wolves a 19-6 lead when the match flipped to the lower weights, but they were unable to sustain that lead.

“It was to our benefit that it started at 170,” Jezioro said. “We could get a little momentum. But the young, little guys weren’t able to hold on to it. It happens. We have a lot of inexperience down there. We talk about getting more production down there. There are just some things that those little guys need to work on.”

Cook may have known the most people in the gym between his new squad and his connections to Oswego East. And in between handshakes after the match, he was able to celebrate the win.

“They did a nice job,” Cook said. “It was fun. Obviously, I’ve coached all those guys. It was good competition. It’s awesome that we have a civil relationship and that we can do things like this.”

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