Gratch uses last year’s regional as motivation
Evanston's Simon Gratch (left) and Highland Park's Dom Ciancio battle in their 145-pound match during the CSL tournament on Jan. 19. | David Banks~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 2, 2013 7:37AM
In his semifinal match at the CSL tournament a couple of weeks ago, Simon Gratch tried to parlay an escape into a reversal.
The move backfired because of a small error in the transition, and the Evanston senior eventually was pinned by Highland Park junior Dom Ciancio at 145 pounds.
“If he can minimize those mistakes, he’s a dangerous wrestler,” Evanston coach Rudy Salinas said. “His success in the postseason will be about how well he can manage his matches.”
Gratch is at his best on his feet or when he’s on top of his opponent.
“He can dominant there,” Salinas said. “He can turn people to get points, and he’s scrappy enough to take someone down. He just has to be careful about not making the little mistakes that give away points.”
For the second season in a row, Gratch goes into the state series off a third-place finish at the conference tournament. He’s hoping for a better outcome than last season when he finished fourth at the regional tournament, one spot away from qualifying for the sectionals.
“I think about that match a lot,” said Gratch, who’s looking for his first trip to the state tournament in Champaign. “I use that as my motive to propel me.”
Evanston hosts a regional Saturday featuring area teams such as Maine South, Niles North, Niles West and Notre Dame. Gratch said Notre Dame senior Roark Whittington will be his toughest challenge. Whittington beat Gratch 4-1 to finish first at 145 pounds at Glenbrook South’s tournament in mid-December.
“Rus Erb was my best tournament,” Gratch said of Glenbrook South’s event. “I was very smart about my matches.”
Brandon Vamarasi (220 pounds) is another senior enjoying a successful season. Salinas said the Vamarasi has all the tools to make a run in the state series. Like Gratch, Salinas said Vamarasi must be careful about his choices on the mat.
“For both of them, it’s about errors,” the coach said. “You don’t want to give away points. It’s always harder to come back when you give it away. It’s all about management and protecting your points.
“Most of their close losses came down to missing out on points and not taking advantage of their positions. Both have the gift to create opportunities. They just have to seize them.”