In the span of three years, Marian Central wrestling has gone from a team with a .500 record near the bottom of the East Suburban Catholic Conference, to a Class 2A state contender with four individual state medalists in 2019.
Under coach David Silva, Marian has a 69-12 dual meet record over the past three years, including 25-1 this season. Sophomore Dylan Connell has won back-to-back state championships, and freshman Josh Glover was a state runner-up in 2019. The Hurricanes brought home a third-place trophy at the Class 2A dual team state finals, the program’s first state trophy.
For those accomplishments, Silva has been named the 2019 Northwest Herald Wrestling Coach of the Year. Silva becomes the first back-to-back winner of the award since Crystal Lake Central’s Justen Lehr won two straight in 2009 and 2010.
Silva also was the 2002 Northwest Herald Wrestler of the Year as a senior at Dundee-Crown. He recently spoke to the Northwest Herald about Marian’s transformation, his dream car and more.
What will you remember most about this team?
Silva: It’s been a great year, a memorable year. I’m always going to look back at these guys and know that they were the first team to bring home a state trophy, and that’s pretty special. I let them know during the year: You guys are going to look back when you’re older and really appreciate this year and this team.
Marian was undefeated in duals until the last day of the year. Is there a dual that stands out most?
Silva: The dual meet against Antioch [in the sectional]. We really wrestled well as a team, being short our 132-pounder [Daniel Valeria, who was out with an elbow injury] who’s one of our better wrestlers. We dressed him up and made him look like he was going to wrestle. We played the game like we knew he was going to go. We knew all along that he couldn’t wrestle. Some guys stepped up. Mason [Schwalbach] had a big win to seal the dual meet, but Kaden Randazzo beat a guy that he shouldn’t have beat, who had beaten him previously.
Who on the team is the unsung hero?
Silva: I would say a guy like Bryce Shelton. He had his moments during the year where he was getting some credit, and that was great for him. But he’s a kid that really works hard and he’s going to accomplish his goals. He’s a leader, he’s one of our team captains, he’s a guy that leads by example, but you don’t hear him talk a whole lot. He’s not flashy, by any means, he just does what he has to do.
Marian graduates only four seniors. How excited are you for the future?
Silva: Like I said when I first took this job, my goal was to create something that was not just good for a year or two or three, I want to start creating a dynasty of really good wrestling, something like a Montini Catholic. People, when they think about great wrestling schools, they think about [Montini] because they’ve been doing it for so long and so well. That’s the goal. It sounded crazy when I first took the job, and I think people kind of laughed at it. Now, I think people are taking it seriously. It’s only been my third year, and look where we are already.
What is something people wouldn’t know about you?
Silva: I recently had twin daughters. I have three daughters. The twins are 5 months old. They’ve just been another motivation for me. When I’m not in the wrestling room and working, I’m at home taking care of twin babies and loving that. It’s a totally different dynamic than being around boys all the time.
You’ve mentioned in the past that you love cars. If you could be behind the wheel of any car right now, what would it be?
Silva: A Corvette Z06 or the brand new mid-engine [Corvette] that they’ve said it’s coming out in 2020, but they haven’t officially released it yet.