As a freshman wrestling for Mount Carmel, Evan Stanley found much success against upperclassmen at 132 pounds. He is also used to competing with older children.
Namely his sisters.
Leia and Haven Stanley were both high school athletes in Lowell, Indiana. Haven currently plays softball at McLennan Community College in Texas.
“I didn’t have any older brothers or older cousins who were boys,” Evan said. “I just had two older sisters who hit me a lot. They made me harder.
Stanley’s tenacity was on full display throughout his rookie season for the Caravan. On Saturday, he won the Class 3A Hinsdale Central Sectional title, improving his record to 33-5.
Stanley qualified for the state meet, scheduled for Thursday through Saturday at the State Farm Center in Champaign.
Mount Carmel coach Alex Tsirtsis was impressed with the way Stanley handled things as a freshman.
“There is the pressure of watching these tournaments your whole life and now you are finally in the spotlight,” Tsirtsis said. “You just have to put that aside and fight against your style.
“He did a good job with that. He’s a really hard-working kid. He has wrestled all his life and he has excellent skills.
Stanley made wrestling his passion all year long.
“I started wrestling when I was 4,” he said. “I was really hyped. My parents got me into wrestling because it seemed like I would like it.
“I never took a year off. I’ve never taken a full month off unless it was due to surgery or a broken bone. It’s about private training, working out, doing everything I do, and I love it.
Speaking of broken bones, Stanley is hoping for some reunion with someone who caused one a long time ago.
St. Charles East star Ben Davino, an Ohio State recruit who will attempt to become a four-time state champion, enters the state competition as a heavy favorite in Stanley’s class.
“A wrestler I hope to meet, maybe be on his opposite side in the state finals, he broke my collarbone when I was 7 or 8,” Stanley said of Davino. “It’s been a long time since we last wrestled.
“It was my last fracture. Left clavicle. It’s still a little spicy. It has never been the same.
Seeing the success Davino has achieved, not to mention many of his Mount Carmel teammates, is motivating for Stanley.
Neither Stanley nor his coach is content with winning, as evidenced by the fact that Stanley ran several laps just moments after his 7-2 victory over Marist’s Ethan Sonne in the sectional championship game.
“Whenever I feel like I’m not performing well, that’s when I work harder,” he said. “Even if it’s after a victory, like (Saturday), I was chasing it.
“I try to be the best version of myself, on and off the mat. So, I push myself through everything. I have high expectations of myself throughout life and throughout struggle.
Mount Carmel’s veteran wrestlers, including 175-pound sectional champion Colin Kelly, appreciate Stanley’s work ethic.
“It’s great to have guys coming in young and showing they have such a love for the game,” Kelly said. “Seeing him work so hard every day in the rehearsal room, it comes out on the mat.”
This weekend will be Stanley’s first appearance in the state finals – at least in Illinois.
“Growing up, I always went to Indiana State,” he said. “But since middle school, I’ve been planning to go to Mount Carmel, so I’ve been paying attention to the Illinois tournament.
“Going out there and competing is something I’m really looking forward to doing. »
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