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Ridgewood freshman (from left) Kevin Moore, Adonis Silva and Vinny Scaletta. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
Freshmen Adonis Silva, Kevin Moore and Vinny Scaletta each entered this season with a limited background in wrestling.
All three were novices with varying degrees of exposure to the Ridgewood wrestling program (Silva’s brother Juan wrestled for the Rebels and Scaletta wrestled in the Rebels’ summer camp) but each gained something valuable in the fall — varsity experience in other sports.
Silva and Moore both ran cross county, and Scaletta played football.
“What I took from [football] is you have to work hard and I think sometimes, if you want to get better, you have to go against people that are bigger than you,” Scaletta said. “If you get beaten, the next time you’ll know [what to do] better. It’s good to get experience.”
That wrestling experience has come at multiple levels this season for Silva (106 pounds), Moore (145) and Scaletta (195). They began their seasons wrestling freshman and JV matches, but Ridgewood coach Jared McCabe decided all three were ready for varsity dual meets about a month into the season.
McCabe made that move partly because the Rebels needed to fill out their lineup — of the team’s 11 wrestlers who competed at the Leyden Invite on Saturday, six were freshmen who’ve wrestled in fewer than 10 varsity matches — but also because of their success at lower levels. Silva is 11-2, Moore is 13-5 and Scaletta is 10-3 in freshman and JV matches this season.
The transition to varsity has been frustrating at times for each — McCabe has seen Moore in particular get frustrated because he wrestles in such a talented weight class — but the attitude needed to succeed on varsity has formed over the course of their first wrestling seasons.
“I keep on saying to myself, ‘Why should they win?’ ” Silva said. “I feel like I’ve gained a lot of experience and I think I’m picking things up really fast.”
The experience gained in their fall sports has helped in other ways. Not only are Moore, Silva and Scaletta accustomed to battling older competition, Scaletta grew comfortable going for takedowns in a high-stakes environment while Silva and Moore both “came in in great shape,” McCabe said.
Despite that, varsity experience in other sports hasn’t fully compensated for their inexperience on the mat. McCabe and his staff have been working with each wrestler on his technique and becoming more comfortable in matches.
All three are scheduled to wrestle at regionals and the Rebels continue trying to get each as much experience as possible.
“Anytime they step on the mat, we look at it as experience,” McCabe said.
“Part of wrestling is getting over the fear of being on the mat. I know when they get on the mat they’re nervous. When you’re nervous and the match starts, you’re not going to move how you normally would. The more times we get them to experience that, they’re going to get used to it. It’s going to become easier for them.”