Huntley wrestling coach B.J. Bertelsman is supposed to be on vacation, but Monday afternoon he was glued to his computer screen, watching streaming video of the USA Wrestling Junior and Cadet National tournament in Fargo, North Dakota.
Fishing could wait a little longer, as he watched Huntley sophomore David Ferrante place third in the Cadet Freestyle 160-pound bracket, becoming the program’s first medalist at the national championships.
“It’s awesome. I’ve been catching some flack from the wife for watching too much wrestling on vacation, but you don’t get a David Ferrante every year on your team, or every decade on your team,” Bertelsman said. “So it’s nice to watch him and follow him and see how he’s progressing. Pretty cool.”
Ferrante beat Minnesota’s Riley Habisch, 3-2, in the third-place match of the Cadet Freestyle 160-pound bracket. It was his second win over Habisch after beating him in the quarterfinals.
“It was pretty surreal because you know, you wrestle at state and stuff, but this is obviously by far the biggest tournament I’ve been in,” Ferrante said. “When I walked out in the semifinal match on the big stage it kind of hit me like, ‘Oh wow, I’m wrestling in the semifinals of Fargo. This is a big deal.’ Then going for third, obviously, with the spotlight and stuff, that’s just one of those moments you’re never going to forget.”
By placing third, Ferrante became the first Fargo All-American in Huntley history, a prestigious honor considering the tournament’s legacy.
“Hopefully, I’ll be the first of many because we’ve got the Spencer brothers and (Jimmy) Pellegrino wrestling out here,” Ferrante said. “It feels good to be the first. I want to set a good example for the guys coming up and the guys that are (already) in high school right now. So they can look up to someone to achieve that, too. Because, hopefully, at Huntley our program is still growing, I want to get that recognition for our school and hopefully…