The year was 1992. It was before the turn of the century. It was also the last time the wrestling team won a conference championship. However, the Spartans ended that 28-year drought Thursday night when they won the South Suburban Conference Red title in dominating fashion. In all, 10 Spartans went 3-0 during the meet to be conference champions, and Oak Lawn walked away with the hardware.
“This season has been a fantastic journey so far…with more to come because we aren’t done yet,” said head coach Stephen Long. “The kids, especially the seniors, earned this. They have worked hard and remained focused on accomplishing this task all season long. And to get it done—in convincing fashion that left no doubt—was incredibly enjoyable to watch.”
The standout, 3-0 performances ranged from the 106-pound weight class all the way to 285. Collin Smith stepped up to varsity and earned the team 18 points at 106. Mike Kass took care of business at 126 while Marcel Bitner won at 132. At 138, it was Mo Eid getting the job done, and team captain Anthony Bitner dominated at 152. In the 160-pound weight class, it was Mike Alberts emerging victoriously, and Chris Czopek won at 170. Naseem Barakat won at 182, Jordan Sprycha won at 220, and Jamal Ali finished on top at 285.
“I’m so happy for all of those kids in the program for what they did for this school,” Long said. “They’ve erased 28 years of futility and put Oak Lawn wrestling back on the map.”