Boys Soccer: Tooley training to become physical presence

RTHS junior also stepping up for Hub wrestling team

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Strength and conditioning will be the keys for Rochelle student-athlete Ethan Tooley as he prepares for his upcoming varsity soccer and wrestling seasons.

Tooley has spent his last two years as a midfielder and wing defender for the Hub soccer team. As a freshman, Tooley served a supporting role for a record-setting squad that won 20 games and brought home both a Northern Illinois Big 12 title and an IHSA 2A Regional title. Tooley earned a starting role on defense during his sophomore season, helping the Hubs to 13 victories and boosting a defensive unit that surrendered only 2.1 goals per game to opposing teams. Tooley is one of several upperclassmen expected to return to the Hubs next spring.

“I felt I performed well but I couldn’t have done so without my teammates constantly pushing me and helping me to become a better player and teammate,” Tooley said. “I’m looking forward to the next time I can play with them. I felt I did well with communication and stepping up when I needed to. I want to push myself to be a better player physically so when I come back next season, we can be a stronger team. I’ve been doing for soccer what I have done for wrestling and that’s staying healthy and getting as much exercise as I can to stay ready.”

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Despite a short freshman wrestling season, Tooley returned as a sophomore and became a leading contributor for the Hubs, winning 21 matches primarily from the 145-pound weight class. Tooley advanced to the IHSA Individual Sectional Series for the first time, and his efforts also resulted in clinching a spot in the IWCOA Fresh-Soph Sectional Series, which was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now a junior, Tooley will be counted on for his leadership and his production on the mat when the Hubs begin their upcoming season next April.

“I struggled slightly with my weight but I felt like I did pretty well throughout the season,” Tooley said. “I need to work on my body mass and maintaining a better diet during the season. I felt confident in my abilities last year. I’ve been trying to stay active as much as I can, but due to COVID-19, I can’t do much other than going for runs and doing my own workouts. I hope COVID-19 goes away so we can actually have a season, but if there’s no season, we’ll need to continue keeping our fitness up and strive for greater goals when we eventually have a season.”