Kamal Bey (right) of Oak Park-River Forest locks up Hononegah’s Zach Benkovich during a 160-pound quarterfinal match at the Class 3A tournament in February. | File
Return trips last month to the USA Wrestling Junior Nationals had bittersweet endings for Oak Park-River Forest’s Kamal Bey and Allen Stallings.
The pair of two-sport junior athletes ended the wrestling portion of their summer in Fargo, North Dakota. Both reached the finals of the Cadet division for Greco-Roman and took runner-up.
Bey also advanced to the 170-pound freestyle championship and again lost to Wisconsin’s Beau Breske. Breske defeated Bey in the Greco final by technical fall and in the freestyle championship, 9-6.
Both Stallings and Bey are set to begin Huskies preseason football practice Aug. 11. Stallings is a 6-foot-2, 225-pound defensive end and Bey is a 5-10, 172-pound safety.
“Balancing football and wrestling could be kind of tough, but the coaches understand,” Bey, who won his first Class 3A individual state wrestling championship at 160 last season, said. “I’m still training for both in order to stay in shape.”
While Bey doesn’t report to OPRF football practice until next week, he hasn’t been taking a break. He’s trying to make the varsity and is performing daily windsprints on OPRF’s practice field and working out in the weight room.
“During the summer, there is a balance between the two sports,” OPRF football coach John Hoerster said. “They are able to give time to football camp, while also allowing time to travel for wrestling. What’s exciting is they are able to find success in both.
“They are great examples of how multiple-sport athletes benefit from multiple sports. High school athletics are so special, and they are making the best of their high school experience.”
Both of Bey’s defeats in Fargo came to Wisconsin’s Beau Breske. Breske won the Greco final 170 by technical fall and claimed the freestyle final with a 9-6 victory.
“I’m very excited about football,” Bey said. “That’s my second thing to do. When I get back from wrestling, I like to play so I won’t get burnt out [by wrestling].”
Oak Park-River Forest sophomore Allen Stallings returns to the bench after pinning Geneva’s Mitchell Bradberry for the 182-pound champsionship at the Class 3A Leyden Sectional. | File
Stallings was pinned by Brandon Metz of North Dakota at 5 minutes, 26 seconds to win the 220-pound Greco-Roman final. Stallings was leading 4-3 with 30 seconds to go.
When Metz slammed Stallings to the mat to set up the decisive pin, Stallings said he was knocked out for nearly a minute. Stallings said tournament trainers ruled him out of the freestyle competition, which was scheduled to begin two days later.
“It’s OK. I’ll be back next year,” Stallings, who advanced to the IHSA meet last winter and won a match at 182, said. “I tried to talk with the trainer, but there was no way they would let me wrestle, no matter how long I was knocked out.”
For Stallings, it was just his third loss in 58 matches during the summer club season. His other two defeats came at the FILA Cadet Nationals in June.
There was better news in the OPRF camp when junior Isaiah White became the second Huskies wrestler to win a Junior freestyle championship when he beat Vincenzo Joseph of Pennsylvania 9-3 in the 145 final.
Sam Brooks of OPRF also was a Junior freestyle champion at 195 in 2012.