Glenbrook North’s Ro makes improbably run to regional championship
BY Michael Wojtychiw February 7, 2012
With only three regional champions in the past eight years, Glenbrook North might not be well-known for its wrestling program.
But don’t tell that to Cort Ro and Michael Maksimovic, two Spartans who won regional titles Saturday at the 126- and 145-pound weight classes. Ro’s victory was the more shocking of the two.
Heading into the Glenbrook South Regional, Ro sported a 7-20 record and came in unseeded. But that didn’t derail the senior from picking up three wins, including over the top two seeds, to claim the first regional title of his career.
“It’s incredible, you just have to do it, just have to feel it,” said Ro. “I think beating the first seed gave me more confidence though. It was one of those things where you know you beat the top guy, so in your head, you know you can compete with and possibly beat the second seed. Beating the top seed was also big for me, because he won conference and I finished fourth.”
Unlike many of the other wrestlers in the regional, Ro hadn’t faced any of the three wrestlers he went up against. That may have been to the senior’s advantage. None of his opponents knew his moves and tendencies, so they couldn’t game plan for him.
“Not seeing any of those other guys definitely helped, I think, and they may have looked at my record and overlooked me, so that was also an advantage I had,” said Ro.
Other than Ro and Maksimovic, just two other Spartans reached the semifinals. Maksimovic, a junior, defeated conference rival Andrew Steen of New Trier in the finals. Max Rothchild finished third at 220, earning a pin of Wheeling’s Jesus Rodriguez in 3:14. Alex Kanellopoulos took fourth in the 285 weight class and did not advance to this weekend’s Barrington Sectional.
“Winning this is a huge confidence boost, especially going up against more great competition next week,” Ro said. “Defeating guys of this caliber is great because the guys get better and better every week, so getting the experience against these guys just sets you up for future success.
“Coach gave us a pep talk going into today and it all turned out to be true. He told us, ‘It’s a new season and all your records go out the window. It’s a clean slate ,so do your best out there.’ “
And Ro did more than just try his best — he became the best.