As a freshman fighting for Mount Carmel, Evan Stanley is having a lot of success against upperclassmen at 132 pounds. He’s also used to competing with older kids.
That is, his sisters.
Leia and Haven Stanley were high school athletes in Lowell, Indiana. Haven currently plays softball at McLennan Community College in Texas.
“I didn’t have any older brothers or older cousins that were boys,” Evan said. “I only had two older sisters who hit me a lot. “They made me tougher.”
Stanley’s toughness has been on display during his rookie season with the Caravan. On Saturday, he won the Hinsdale Class 3A Central Sectional title, improving his record to 33-5.
Stanley advanced to the state meet, scheduled for Thursday and Saturday at the State Farm Center in Champaign.
Mount Carmel Coach Alex Tsirtsis He has been impressed with the way Stanley has handled things as a freshman.
“There’s the pressure of watching these tournaments your whole life and now you’re finally in that spotlight,” Tsirtsis said. “You just have to put that aside and fight with your style.
“He’s done a good job with that. He is a very hardworking boy. He has been wrestling his entire life and has an excellent skill set.”
Stanley has made wrestling his passion all year long.
“I started wrestling when I was 4 years old,” he said. “He was really hyperactive. My parents got me into wrestling because it seemed like I would like it.
“I have never taken a year off. I have never taken a full month off unless it was for surgery or a broken bone. “It’s been private practice, working out, making this everything I do, and I love it.”
Speaking of broken bones, Stanley hopes to have a little reunion with someone who caused one a long time ago.
Star of San Carlos Este Well davinoan Ohio State recruit who will try to become a four-time state champion, enters the state meet as the heavy favorite in Stanley’s field.
“A wrestler I hope to meet, maybe be on his opposite side in the state finals, broke my collarbone when I was 7 or 8,” Stanley said of Davino. “It’s been a long time since we fought.
“That was my last broken bone. Left clavicle. It’s still a little elevated. It has never been the same.”
Seeing the success achieved by Davino, not to mention several of his teammates at Mount Carmel, is a motivation for Stanley.
Neither Stanley nor his coach are satisfied with simply winning, as evidenced by Stanley running several laps moments after his 7-2 victory over Marist. Ethan Sonne in the sectional championship game.
“Whenever I feel like I’m underperforming, that’s when I work harder,” he said. “Even if it’s after a win, like (Saturday), I was running behind.
“I’m trying to be the best version of myself, on and off the mat. So, I strive to overcome everything. “I expect a lot from myself throughout life and wrestling.”
Mount Carmel’s senior wrestlers, including 175-pound sectional champion Colin Kelly, appreciate Stanley’s work ethic.
“It’s great to have guys come in young and show that they have a great love for the game,” Kelly said. “Seeing him work so hard every day in the practice room, it just shows on the mat.”
This weekend will be Stanley’s first time in the state finals, at least in Illinois.
“When I was a kid, I always went to Indiana State,” he said. “But since high school, I’ve had the possibility of going to Mount Carmel in mind, so I paid attention to the Illinois tournament.
“Going there and competing is something I really want to do.”