Hinsdale Central sophomore Edmond prefers to join his own club
Hinsdale Saturday 2/2/13 Hinsdale Central's Juwan Edmond and Downers Grove North's Cullen Cummings battle during their 138lb match. | Jerry Daliege~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 1, 2013 6:43AM
Now that the high school season is over, many area wrestlers turn their focus to the club season.
After a brief break, wrestlers return to the practice room in the next few weeks with the ultimate goal of the USA Junior and Cadet Nationals in July in Fargo, N.D.
But Hinsdale Central sophomore Juwan Edmond has another plan this summer. After being disqualified because of a skin condition from wrestling in Fargo last summer, he will bypass Nationals. Edmond, who wrestled as an unattached club competitor last season, has decided to continue his own workouts this offseason.
“Fargo was bad luck for me,” Edmond said. “Last year I had funk in the back of my head and I was not able to wrestle.”
Last season, Edmond won the state Cadet title at 138 pounds for Greco-Roman, but did not pass a skin inspection in Fargo. He had advanced to Nationals by defeating Brandon Arteaga of the Lombard-based Izzy Style Wrestling club, 7-0, 0-4, 2-1, which gave him a walk-over in the final.
Without the influence of his cousin and uncle, it’s unlikely Edmond would be wrestling at all.
While growing up in Bellwood, Edmond was introduced to wrestling by his cousin, T.J. Sally, and Sally’s father, Tyrone, a former wrestler at Proviso East.
“I remember when (Tyrone) walked into my mom’s job and told her I could become a wrestler,” Edmond said.
Uncle Tyrone was one of Edmond’s first coaches with the Gladiators club in Maywood at age 6. Edmond has bounced around a few clubs before high school, including the Harvey Twisters and Broadview Bandits.
He moved to Hinsdale after completing eighth grade and lived with his uncle and cousin until his mother found her own place.
Hinsdale Central coach Jason Hayes did not see Edmond wrestle until tryouts as a freshman.
“Juwan is a very talented athlete and wrestles hard,” Hayes said. “He not only improved his technique, but he improved the mental game of wrestling and was very confident during the tournament series.”
Edmond (42-10) ended his second prep season last week with a pin at the Class 3A Hinsdale South dual-team sectional final, which eventual state champion Sandburg won 43-20.
Just a few days earlier, Edmond placed second at 138 pounds in the individual state meet in Champaign. He lost 7-2 in the final to Belleville West senior Mech Spraggins. As a freshman, Edmond placed fifth at 126.
“I was really excited to make it to the finals. It showed me I can do a lot of good things,” Edmond said. “I need to stay in my stance. That’s how Spraggins took me down three times.”
Edmond bounced back at state after placing third in the Shepard Sectional behind Downers Grove North’s Cullen Cummings and Sandburg’s John Pellegrino. He then beat Pellegrino 8-1 in the state semifinals.
In the Hinsdale Central Regional final, he beat Cummings, 10-5, for the only time in four meetings this season. At state, Pellegrino placed third and Cummings was fourth at 138.
Edmond’s favorite memory of the state meet was the Grand March, the spot-lighted introduction for finalists entering Assembly Hall for the championships.
“I don’t say to myself, ‘People can’t beat me,’ ” he said. “I want to show people they can’t beat me. I expect myself to win, but I couldn’t pull it off.”
Edmond is on track to become just the third Hinsdale Central wrestler — along with Jack and Brian Allen — to win three state medals during his career. Already he’s just the sixth two-time state medalist for the Devils, joining Matt Clarke (1980-81), Erik Wisch (1988-89) and Pat Quirk (1995-96).