Abe Duran returns to the Metea Valley wrestling hall


As the calendar year moves to 2022 and Metea Valley’s 12th yeare As the varsity track season continues, a familiar face has taken to the Mustang’s wrestling room in hopes of bringing back the winning tradition for the Black and Gold grapplers.

“I think it was going to happen somewhere eventually. I wasn’t sure it would be there, but I’m glad it was.

Abe Duran returns to the Metea wrestling mats as the Mustangs’ new and third wrestling coach since the departure of former Sheriff Matt Long. After four years as a volunteer assistant at North Central College, he spent the previous two years at Mustang under the guidance of longtime head coach Claudio Torres after starting his coaching career at East Aurora. Torres was Metea’s first head wrestling coach once the varsity program began in 2010. This long tenure provided crucial learning opportunities for many assistant coaches, including coach Abe Duran, who wanted to do take their skills to the next level.

“I paid a lot of attention to what he had set up, I had the opportunity to learn a few things from him and to experience the culture in that of the valley.”

Prior to starting the coaching campaign, he began his wrestling journey as a competitor himself at East Aurora High School and Augustana College, wrestling in the 285-pound category. Fast forward to the 2021-22 school year and the new leader takes on the role of head coach in a familiar neighborhood. Abe Duran believes this will be an important role for the Metea community.

“I know everyone in the wrestling community, it was good to be able to take the job and know most of the coaches in the area just because you know my whole life and you know my show at North Central.”

The Mustangs qualified ten wrestlers for the IHSA State Tournament and two ended up on the podium. The first was Dylan Ervin as a finalist in the 195-pound weight class in February 2016. Three years later, Phillip Sims, a three-time state qualifier, finished third at 145 pounds. While waiting for another athlete in black and gold to earn a place on the podium, Duran knows that the road to Champaign is a process that will not happen overnight.

“We know that we know how we’re going to play in a game or how we’re going to weigh it and what our process is and so we have adapted a bit to have the same process and have the same mentality in every game. “

As for the wrestlers themselves, having Coach Duran push these Mustangs into the ring will help their talent reach greater heights.

“I really like that he tries to attack him because we have to put in a ton of work and we have to be very aggressive and we cannot take days off because there is no training, we have to be full all the time whenever we are in the room or on the mat no matter what. He will come and do exercises with people and just work to get all the kids to improve in what they need to improve.

With the season ending, Duran’s return to Metea Valley is poised to be the start of something huge for the program on and off the mat.

“Being in the building as a teacher and being able to supervise the students I see in the hallways is very important to me. I think we have those relationships and it just strengthens them to be able to be in the building. “

For Naperville Sports Weekly, I’m Patrick Codo.


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