With the winter sports season quickly approaching, The Forest Scout takes a look at some of the greatest athletic performances in Lake Forest High School history. In this four-part winter series, we feature the some of the greatest individual seasons and careers from boys swimming, wrestling, and boys and girls basketball. In part two of the series, we take a look back at the most successful wrestling careers of all time, as the next generation of Scout athletes prepare to make their own history.
Regis Durbin (2014):
Undefeated seasons are rare. An undefeated season of (41-0) and a playoff run to the IHSA State Championship is nearly unheard of in high school wrestling unless, of course, you are Regis Durbin in 2014. Durbin’s senior season, in which he was also the quarterback of a playoff football team, featured a (41-0) record on the mat and qualification for the state tournament. Durbin was an underdog, but quickly showed his fight and skills as he upset the top seeded Tyler Johnson of Lockport in the first round. Durbin would go on to shock the state as he won the state title in 195 pound class in a tie-breaker. Durbin became the first Scout wrestler to win the state championship in wrestling, and did so with perfection. Durbin, the only wrestler to ever claim state title to this day, a two time all-conference selection and the only Scout to complete an incredible undefeated season, is most definitely one of the greatest Scouts to ever step on the mats. Currently, Durbin is wrestling for the Northwestern Wildcats.
Phil Bergsrud (1995):
Phil Bergsrud, who wrestled for the varsity team all four years and earned the notoriety of a three time captain, was perhaps the most important piece in the revival of the Lake Forest wrestling program in the mid-90s. Bergsrud put Scouts wrestling on the map, and paved the way for the others on this list to have successful careers. In his senior season, Bergsrud won both an IHSA regional and sectional title. With those wins, Bergsrud became the first All-State wrestler in Lake Forest history. Bergsrud finished fifth in the 1995 state tournament, and was voted to the Pioneer Press All-Lakeshore team. Bergsrud finished up his 1995 campaign with a record of (37-7) and 211.0 team points, which was a team record at the time. Overall, there may have been more productive careers with better results, but you cannot forget that Bergsrud was a pioneer for the wrestling program, and set the stage for continued success down the line.
Charlie Mullin (1998):
While some of his records would eventually be surpassed by Roger Smith-Bergsrud, Charlie Mullin had himself an extremely productive career as the Scouts wrestling program began its upswing. At the time, Mullin’s 131 career wins were the most in program history. In his senior season, Mullin racked up 266 team points, which gave him 764 points for his career; both of which are still records that stand today. In his career, Mullin secured 13 regular season tournament championships, was a two-time sectional champion, and placed third and fourth in the 1997 and 1998 state tournaments, respectively. Even though Mullin never claimed the state title, he had one of the more dominant careers in LFHS history, with a winning percentage of .873 and multiple records that remind us of his success even to this day.
Roger Smith-Bergsrud (2004):
If you find yourself in the field house and glance up to the wrestling records board, you will see a name come up over and over again. That name is Roger Smith-Bergsrud, and he holds the program record for takedowns, wins, technical falls, least takedowns scored against, and major decisions. Simply put, Bergsrud owned the mats and it showed in his success, as he twice placed third in the IHSA state tournament. After falling in the main bracket in both his junior and senior years, Smith-Bergsrud battled back to rally off four wins in a row to claim the third place spot twice. Smith-Bergsrud’s 45 wins in his 2003 season–and 141 career wins in his career–are both records for the Scouts wrestling program. Smith-Bergsrud would go on to have a successful wrestling career at the University of Illinois, but his impact and records on the mat for the Scouts will forever be remembered.
If you read “Legacy Series: Swimming,” then you know that Matt Grevers clearly had the best career for the swimming program. Wrestling, on the other hand, is not as clear. Each wrestler on this list had their own impact on Scouts history. Phil Bergsrud legitimized the program, Charlie Mullin and Roger Smith-Bergsrud both kept it on the map with historic seasons, and finally Regis Durbin brought home the ever-elusive first place trophy. At the end of the day, I believe Smith-Bergsrud had the best career of them all. His record 141 career wins are an incredible mark, and to finish in the top three at the state tournament two years in a row is impressive to boot. Mullin’s career makes a strong and fairly equivalent case as well, as both he and Smith-Bergsrud hold five career records at Lake Forest. But in the end I still give the slight nudge to Bergsrud for his relative dominance in wins and tournament success. I usually like to keep these articles even by observing just one variable, like career or individual seasons, but I cannot ignore the success of Durbin’s 2014 campaign. An undefeated record, 41 wins, and the only state championship in the Lake Forest wrestling program puts Durbin’s senior season above any other. Wrestling is a competitive sport with each player fighting for themselves on the mat. That being said, it is not surprising that there are so many worthy careers to be considered. Some may be a bit better than others, but in the end, all of these athletes had unforgettable impacts on the program, and they set the example for the next generation of Lake Forest wrestlers to follow.
Stop by the East Campus Fieldhouse at 10:00 am on Wednesday, November 22, to see the next wave of Scout wrestlers in their first meet of the year. For more on this year’s team, be sure to check out the wrestling preview on The Forest Scout.