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1/26/13 Vernon Hills' David Pierce (Left) wrestles Grant's Mike Kouvelis for 5th place at 145 lbs during Saturday's North Suburban Conference Wrestling Championships
Vernon Hills’ senior night went a whole lot better for Cougars senior wrestler David Pierce this year than it did last year.
One year ago, Pierce injured his knee on senior night and had to sit out the regional after earning a trip downstate as a sophomore.
“If the regional had been a month later, I might have wrestled. But I just didn’t have time to get ready for it,” Pierce said. “I could barely walk, and I wouldn’t have been the same wrestler.”
With a healthy knee this season, Pierce posted his 100th high school win on senior night at Vernon Hills Jan. 17. As an added bonus, his father Mike was one of the coaches sitting in his corner that night thanks to a practice that Vernon Hills coach Jerry Miceli follows each year.
“We always let the fathers of the seniors coach in the corner on senior night,” Miceli said. “It’s always a lot of fun. And if their wrestler loses, I fire them on the spot.”
Pierce added: “That was awesome. ... My dad has been there for me my entire wrestling career, giving me all the opportunities I need, so for him to be in that chair was very cool for both of us.”
Pierce’s journey through wrestling took him from a jittery freshman wrestling on the varsity to a state-qualifying sophomore. He went 13-20 his freshman year, 31-13 as a sophomore, and had 28 wins as a junior before his season-ending knee injury.
“I was a nervous wreck my freshman year, sophomore year I was still pretty nervous, but by junior year I was better,” Pierce said. “Being a senior now, I feel pretty confident on the mat.”
And the knee is no longer an issue.
“It didn’t surprise me that he was able rehab his knee as well as he has,” Miceli said. “He’s a hard worker, and he works hard in the classroom, too. He’s got a 4.0 GPA.”
Pierce’s cumulative GPA is 4.134 on a 4.0 scale, to be exact. He wants to attend the University of Texas at Austin next year and major in business.
But for now, Pierce is focused on Saturday’s Class 2A regional meet at Lakes. Pierce placed fifth at 145 pounds at the NSC meet Saturday, where he improved to 33-6 on the year with a 5-2 decision win against Grant’s Mike Kouvelis in the fifth-place match.
“He doesn’t give up much, and somehow, he always seems to get the takedown he needs,” Miceli said of Pierce, who agreed with his coach’s assessment.
“I don’t do a lot of things, but the things I do, I’m effective with them and I do what I have to do to win,” Pierce said. “I usually get the first takedown, get my points, and keep matches close.”
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