They didn’t hand out a “Most Inspiring Wrestler” award at the Class 3A Barrington Sectional.
But if they did … it likely would’ve gone to Highland Park High School’s Alex Rosenbloom.
The word “quit”? Apparently, it’s not in Rosenbloom’s vocabulary.
The senior woke up with a severe case of the flu on Day One of the Barrington Sectional on Feb. 9. He probably had no business taking the mat that day.
But instead of yielding to the sickness, Rosenbloom beat it.
Better yet, he pinned it.
“It’s been a tough two days for me,” said a relieved Rosenbloom, moments after downing Wheeling’s John Smith 8-5 in the 145-pound, third-place match on Feb. 10. “Really tough.
“I had to mentally stay with it,” he added.
A trip to the ER seemed like a more likely destination for him.
“Yesterday, I woke up feeling really bad. Dehydrated,” said Rosenbloom. “Wrestle. Or go to the ER. My coaches and I were real close to calling it.
“But I knew if I would’ve gone to the ER, I would’ve had a lot of regrets for a long, long time,” he added.
Rosenbloom has been an elite wrestler throughout his prep career with the Giants. He is now a three-time state qualifier.
Ranked by Illinois Matmen (honorable mention), he will head to the State Farm Center in Champaign with a 33-3 record.
“I couldn’t be more impressed with a kid,” said HP coach Chris Volpe, moments after watching Rosenbloom climb the podium to receive his third-place medal. “He showed a lot of grit. A lot tenacity. He had to deal with a lot of adversity this weekend.”
Rosenbloom opened the tourney by downing Loyola Academy star Sean Cloherty with a technical fall (20-5). And then, he had to go to the other side of the bracket after losing an 8-2 decision to Fremd’s Cole Reimer in the quarterfinal round.
“I think if he’s feeling good, that match [with Reimer] looks a lot different,” said Volpe.
In the do-or-die matches on Saturday, Rosenbloom found a way.
The key bout came against Kelvin Cupay. In a consolation bracket semifinal, he edged the Warren wrestler 5-4 to assure himself of a sectional medal.
“Alex went up against the Warren kid and said, ‘I’m not going to lose this match,’ ” Volpe said.
Qualifying to state gives Rosenbloom new life.
“Hopefully, I’ll go down there and do some damage,” he said.