There’s plenty of time for Gavin Hanrahan to grow a few inches and hit the weights during his Antioch career.
In the meantime, the 113-pound sophomore is doing his own thing to become one of the top underclassmen in the state.
“Gavin just has a funky style,” longtime Antioch coach Wilbur Borrero said. “I sure couldn’t wrestle that way, but it works for him.”
Hanrahan (21-4), however, knows he has to be better with his style and technique in the future to win a state championship.
“Right now, being a little funky and scrambling around has worked for me, but I know getting physically stronger and learning more about technique is going to be key to my future in wrestling,” he said.
Hanrahan burst onto the scene as a freshman at 106 pounds, compiling an impressive 30-7 record while qualifying for the Class 2A state meet.
He also started a rivalry with Grayslake Central’s Anthony Alanis, who is a year ahead of him. Hanrahan lost to Alanis in the Deerfield Sectional championship match by pinfall last season, and Alanis finished second at state.
Hanrahan, ranked eighth in the state, avenged that loss at Antioch’s Ted DeRousse Invitational in late November, recording a 5-2 victory against Alanis in the championship match at 113. Hanrahan has several other solid finishes in invites this season, including second place in the Bettendorf Midwest Shootout in Iowa on Jan. 14.
“Gavin has much more confidence this season, and, of course, beating Alanis early sure helped,” Borrero said.
Hanrahan and Alanis could meet again in the Grayslake Central Regional on Feb. 4, the Deerfield sectional Feb. 10-11 and the state meet Feb. 16-18.
“Knowing that I will probably see (Alanis) a few more times this season is a good enough reason to get pumped up for the state playoffs,” Hanrahan said. “You want to wrestle against the best to show how much you have improved, and he’s definitely one of the best.”
Both wrestlers bypassed the Lake County Invitational last weekend. Hanrahan was out with an illness.
“I have a couple of weeks to get ready for the playoffs so I can be physically and mentally prepared to do my best,” he said. “We also have a chance to do something big in the team competition, so I know it’s going to be a grueling few weeks for us.”
Borrero said he hopes several other Antioch wrestlers will make lengthy postseason runs.
“I think we have a chance to have five or six guys place at state and maybe even a couple in the finals,” Borrero said. “You just never know because it just depends who is on or not when the time comes to compete.
“The same with the team competition. We finished fourth in the state last year, and I think we might have another shot doing well again. But it’s up to the kids.”
Even after the state series, Hanrahan said he knows his work won’t be done.
“I want to wrestle in college, and I would love to wrestle for the University of Illinois because I know a coach down there,” he said. “In order for something like that to happen, I have to get a lot better in all areas.”
Borrero agrees Hanrahan can go higher.
“I can see Gavin wrestling at 120 or 126 in the next few years,” Borrero said. “He’s already pretty tall for 113, so I can see him growing into his body and really hitting the weight room more.”
Darren Day is a freelance reporter for the News-Sun.