In many ways, the manner in which the 2020 season ended was disappointing for Marian Central wrestling. The Hurricanes lost in the IHSA dual team state quarterfinals, falling short of a state trophy and short of their goal of winning the Class 2A championship.
In many ways, though, there was a lot to celebrate.
Marian set a program record with six individual state medalists, including six wrestlers reaching the semifinals of their bracket. They went unbeaten as a team in the regular season and earned their third consecutive trip to dual team state. Junior Dylan Connell won his third state championship.
The only reason the Hurricanes were disappointed in the way the season ended was because they set the bar so high.
Following another dominant season, Marian Central coach David Silva earned the 2020 Northwest Herald Wrestling Coach of the Year award. Silva won the award for the third consecutive season.
Close consideration was also given to Harvard’s David Schultz, after the Hornets had a breakthrough season and reached the Class 1A state quarterfinals, and to Huntley’s B.J. Bertelsman, whose program had three Class 3A individual medalists and reached the 3A quarterfinals.
Silva recently spoke with the Northwest Herald about the 2020 season, the future for his program and his favorite kicks.
What will you remember most about this year’s team?
Silva: This was such a fun group. We had a great year. For me, if I’m looking for one memory, it’s that we put six in the semis down state. That was a highlight of our year. That was impressive.
Which dual was Marian’s best this year?
Silva: The Deerfield dual at the team sectional. We all wrestled really well. We were without Kaden Randazzo [who was out with an injury], so we had to make some adjustments, but everyone wrestled and did their job like they’re supposed to.
Who was the unsung hero on the team?
Silva: There’s so many guys. They’re all heroes in their own way. I’m going to say Joey Pawlak. He dealt with a lot this year and he did awesome for us. Being a senior, he stepped up for the team. He was pretty injured there at the end, he had a sling on. He overcame all that.
Is there a wrestler who made you laugh the most?
Silva: Niko Lopez. He’s pretty funny. He’s got a great sense of humor and he’s a pleasure to coach.
We ask wrestlers all the time if they get nervous before a big match, but what about you? When you’re coaching in the state title, are you nervous?
Silva: I do get nervous, but with Dylan, I don’t. We’ve been there together. We’ve done it three years. I’m more excited and just can’t wait for it to start. Whereas with Elon Rodriguez and with Josh Glover, Anthony Randazzo, I was really nervous. Probably just as nervous, if not more nervous, as them. With Dylan, it’s different. It’s almost like a calm, but excited moment.
Speaking of Dylan, what would it mean for him to make it four out of four next year?
Silva: For me, it would be such an honor to coach him to four state titles. I don’t think anybody really thought, when he first came to Marian, that he was going to be what he is now. I’m very proud of him because he’s put in the work, and it’s one of our goals, for both of us.
From the team perspective, it seemed like every year you were getting one step closer, and then this year you lost in the quarterfinals, fell a bit short. What do you guys, as a group, have to do to take the next step?
Silva: Very few teams, in such a short period of time, accomplish what we’ve been able to accomplish. This year, we fell short of that goal, which was a state title. As a team, we just need to improve and get depth. I’ve said it a few times, being able to get a better schedule together, our schedule will improve next year pretty significantly. That’s because adversity happens and we need to practice dealing with adversity, not just maybe one time a year, or twice a year, but we need to see more adversity throughout the year, so we’re prepared at the end of the year.
Next year, we’ve got to be able to get to that state title match no matter what, we’re going to find a way. Those are things that we need to do as a team. Our schedule has to improve, we have to improve as wrestlers, I have to improve as a coach. All around, we’re going to be a better team next year because of things like this year.
You are a father of three girls, with 1-year-old twins. Has having three little girls changed your perspective of things at all?
Silva: Yes, definitely. Having three girls has made me more of a loving person and more of a loving father. It’s made me appreciate a lot of things and they’re such blessings for me to have.
You are a big collector of shoes, what are your favorites right now?
Silva: My “Space Jam” 11 Jordan’s. They’re pretty special to me.
Is there a shoe out there that you want to get your hands on?
Silva: There’s so many pairs. I’d have to say the Pantone 11 Jordan’s. They’re pretty rare and hard to come by. Those would be awesome, and they’re Marian colors, so I’ve got to get my hands on a pair.