Toughen up : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|Toughen up |
|Oswego's Larsen wins 160-pound title at SPC Meet, seven others named all-conference |
|by Kristin Sharp|
More than half of the Southwest Prairie Conference championship bouts featured a District 308 wrestler, as Oswego and Oswego East were well-represented in last Saturday's tournament in Minooka.
The Indians cruised to a championship finish with five individual champions and 221.5 points while Plainfield Central took runner-up honors with 172.5 points. Plainfield East and Plainfield South rounded out the top half, while Oswego scored 110 points for fifth and Oswego East was sixth with 86 points.
Oswego finished with one champion in senior Max Larsen, who went 2-0 at 160 for the title, as well as four more All-Conference wrestlers while Oswego East finished with three All-Conference selections.
Oswego competed without a pair of starters in senior Bo Pradel, who is out of the lineup with an injury, and senior Nick Schultz, who suffered a season-ending injury on Jan. 19, but head coach Andrew Cook was pleased with six top-three finishes.
"Bo Pradel will be back in the lineup, so that'll be nice to get him back," Cook said. "It hurt from a team standing not having him and Nick in there. We would have finished a little higher."
Larsen improved to 25-3 on the season and is ranked eighth in Class 3A after his SPC championship. He won a 14-4 major decision over Oswego East's Tim Iannantone in the semifinals, and won a 10-2 decision over Minooka's Jeff Klank in the finals for a 2-0 finish.
"He majored both of his kids and the two kids he wrestled were decent kids," Cook said. "He looked real good. He didn't wrestle in the Oak Park tournament, and that's the first time he's stepped onto the mat since the Romeoville dual (Jan. 17), so he blew off some rust and was looking good. He's been working hard in the wrestling room."
Oswego senior Max Hively had a tough draw at 195, facing No. 2-ranked Jordan Ellingwood (37-0) of Plainfield Central in the semifinals. Ellingwood pinned Hively in 1:02 and went on to record another first-period pin in the finals for the win. Hively went on to win a 5-1 decision over Minooka's Josh Bouie in the third-place bout.
"Max had a ridiculously tough draw. He won his first match (by pin) and had to wrestle the top guy in the state," Cook said. "He didn't get the opportunity to get All-Conference and it was disappointing for him in that aspect, but our focus is on regionals. It's nice to have, but it's not the end."
At 106, Oswego sophomore Andrew McFall won a 3-1 decision over Minooka state qualifier KJ Minor, but lost a 9-2 decision to Plainfield South's Miguel Silva in the finals. Silva improved to 32-0 on the season and is ranked second in Class 3A.
"Andrew McFall won a huge match to get into the finals, beating the kid from Minooka," Cook said. "It's a great win for him going into the regional tournament."
At 113, freshman Blake Huffmon joined McFall as an All-Conference wrestler, placing second overall. He won a 4-3 decision over Minooka's Andrew Potts in the semifinals, but lost a 6-0 decision to Plainfield East's Cody Hughes to finish second.
"Blake had a good win to get into the finals. He wrestled well in his first match," Cook said.
Oswego sophomore Jack Pradel was an All-SPC finisher at 120, opening with a pinfall against Oswego East's Jason Fountain (3:03) before winning a 9-2 decision over Plainfield Central's Clayton Ledbetter. He lost an 8-2 decision to Romeoville's Naquan Hardy in the finals.
"Jack lost to the Hardy kid for a second time in two weeks and they've been close matches both times," Cook said.
At 138, Oswego junior Nick Aguirre finished second to earn an All-SPC finish. He pinned Plainfield East in 3:31 and won an 8-2 decision over Plainfield South's Joe Miner in the semifinals, but lost a 7-1 decision to Minooka's Mike McNulty in the championship match.
"Nick won a couple of good matches to get into the finals and lost to a three or four-time conference champion, McNulty," Cook said.
For Oswego East, head coach Mike Jezioro is hoping his wrestlers took lessons away from their 0-5 finish in the finals as three lost in championship matches and two more in third-place bouts.
"Overall, we probably could have had a little bit better day than we did," Jezioro said. "We went 0-5 in the medal round, so that's definitely not how you want to finish the day up losing all your place matches. We've got to work on some things to fix that so we're finishing with a win. It's conference; it's tough. It's just a tough tournament to wrestle because you've seen everybody before. We'll take it for what it's worth and move forward this week."
At 126, Oswego East senior Justin Garza won a 12-0 major decision against Plainfield South's Liam Hannon to reach the finals, but lost a 14-4 major decision to Plainfield Central junior Nick Nasenbeny (31-7), who is currently ranked fourth in Class 3A.
"Justin was seeded No. 2 and finished second, so he was right where everybody thought he was going to finish," Jezioro said. "He wrestled well in the semis, and in the finals he held back a little bit because I think he knew he was wrestling a tough kid. We've talked about wrestling the guy who is out there and don't wrestle the name and who it is. It's hard for some of the young kids to stay away from the internet and read about how good every is. Overall, he had a nice day."
At 152, Oswego East senior Andrew Chastain joined Garza on the All-Conference list with his second-place effort. He won by pin over Plainfield East's Mateo Valdez to start the bracket, and won a 15-0 major decision against Plainfield South's Andy Gastelum in the semifinals, but lost a 10-0 decision to Minooka's Corbett Oughton in the finals. Oughton is ranked sixth in Class 3A despite his limited 5-2 record, but he is a returning state medalist after finishing fourth in 2012.
"Chastain got to the finals and did the same thing - he wrestled the name as opposed to just going out there and doing what he does," Jezioro said.
Oswego East sophomore Zach Prinz placed second at 170 to earn All-SPC honors. He pinned Plainfield East's Jake Mayon in 3:51 to reach the finals, but lost a 9-6 decision to Plainfield South's Danny Saracco.
"Zach wrestled (Saracco) in January and Zach beat him 6-3, so we knew it was going to be a tight match. The kid was a little more offensive than Zach was, and Zach was trying to wrestle from behind," Jezioro said. "When you get to that level, even if you're down two or three points, it's going to seem like 10 points. It's hard to score against kids who are at that quality level. Hopefully he learned a little bit and we'll change that up for Saturday."
At 182, Oswego East sophomore Dan Moran lost his first-round match to Plainfield Central's Dominic Sterr, but pinned Plainfield East's Chris Kendricks in 1:15 to move into the third-place match. He lost a tough 15-13 decision to Romeoville's Evan Stingily to finish fourth.
At 220, Oswego East sophomore Ryan Ingalls pinned Plainfield Central in 3:08 to start the bracket, but was pinned by eventual champion Eric Velazquez in the semifinals. He pinned Romeoville in 1:13 to move into the third-place match against Plainfield South, but lost by injury default to take fourth.
Oswego and Oswego East will now compete in the Class 3A Bolingbrook Regional on Saturday at 9 a.m.
"This is the fun time, when you get to regionals," Jezioro said. "We're going to have some guys who are seeded high and some unseeded, and some who are probably seeded lower than they should be, but eventually you've got to beat the guy in front of you. You can't really do much about where you fall in the bracket. All you can do is wrestle as hard as you can."
The teams will join East Aurora, Waubonsie Valley, Neuqua Valley, Plainfield East, Plainfield North and Romeoville as well as host Bolingbrook. The top three individual finishers advance to the Moline Sectional Feb. 8-9.
"These guys are battle-tested. They've wrestled some of the best kids in the state week in and week out. They want to do well," Cook said. "They're pushing themselves in the room and hopefully that pays off for us on Saturday. You want to peak at regionals. I think everyone is right on track and doing a heckuva job."