After battling through a tough early stretch where they've yet to be at full strength, Hinsdale Central's wrestlers were looking for an event to send their fortunes in a different direction.
The Red Devils are hoping they got that key performance on Friday after rallying in the semifinals and finals to capture a second-straight title in Palatine's Al Berman Holiday Classic.
Hinsdale Central trailed Glenbard East by 13 points for top honors after day one of the two-day, 27-team competition but wound up beating the Rams 192.5-172.5 for the title of the 58th-annual meet.
St. Charles East (162), Lyons Township (156) and Cary-Grove (146) were next in line in a tournament featuring an unusual sight: all 14 individual champs representing different schools.
Although Hinsdale Central had only one champion, it had five individuals who took second or third and three others who placed among the top eight in their weight classes.
Glenbard East, which hadn't finished better than ninth in six previous trips, and St. Charles East, which posted its best finish since 2003, each had eight placewinners.
Hinsdale Central's Brian Allen defeated Lincoln-Way East's Nicky Allegretti 14-5 at 285 to repeat as a Berman champion and also claim the lone title for the first-place squad.
"We've had some tough losses so it's rewarding to come to a tournament like this and to take care of business," Allen said. "I gave up my first points in the semis but that's probably good since it will get me going."
Lincoln-Way East's Kyle Langenderfer pinned Hinsdale Central's Ernest Battaglia at 152 for his second title in three years and to claim the meet's Outstanding Wrestler Award.
"I'm definitely a step behind because of football but I've been working really hard and it's starting to show," Langenderfer said. "I'm just trying to string together some wins and do what I know that I have to do."
St. Patrick's Steve Galiardo got an escape in overtime to claim a 4-3 victory over Lake Park's Austin Schoen in the 145 finals to give him his second Berman title in three years.
"I came in thinking that I would wrestle Kyle but Austin's also a tough kid and that was my toughest match all year," Galiardo said. "Hopefully this leads to good things."
In a matchup of returning state placewinners, Downers North's Cullen Cummings defeated Hinsdale Central's Juwan Edmond 9-4 to capture the 138 championship.
"I've already seen him two times this year so we kind of know each others' style," Cummings said."I kind of knew what he was going to do and he knew what I was going to do."
Rock Island's B.J. McGhee (120) beat Richmond-Burton's Grant Sutton to claim his third-straight title while Richmond-Burton's Cameron Kennedy edged Metea Valley's Devin Kane 6-4 at 126 to repeat as a champ.
In other close title matches, St. Charles East's Ryan Rubino, who had lost two previous finals, captured a 6-4 victory in the 106 finals over Oak Forest's Danny Swan.
"I'm glad that I did better than I did here last year," Rubino said. "It was a really tough match. This title really puts me in a good spot and it keeps my momentum going."
Zion-Benton's Abel Rios edged Lyons Township's Jarvis Sanders 3-2 for the 132 title while Oak Forest's Alec Brown was a 3-1 winner at 220 over Hinsdale Central's Andrew Pyle.
Warren's Danny Hicks got a takedown in overtime to win 5-3 over Metea's Breon Hoosier at 170 and Lemont's Chris Giatras did the same to win 4-2 over Lyons' Eric Rende at 182.
Cary-Grove's Michael Cullen beat Zion-Benton's Noey Carrillo at 113, Oswego's Max Larsen won against Downers Grove North's Nicky Bonomo at 160 and Lyons' Justin Fuller (195) beat Glenbard East's Ammar Al-Ghoul at 195.