St. Charles East takes UEC title
Anthony Touchstone will be the answer to a trivia question one day.
When the Waubonsie Valley senior outlasted St. Charles North senior Wes Pasholk in the finals of the Upstate Eight Conference tournament on Saturday afternoon in Batavia, the 220-pounder became the only non-top seed to win an individual championship.
"I thought I had (Pasholk pinned)," Touchstone said of his second-period near fall that was the foundation of his 8-2 victory. "I wanted to pin my way all the way through (the tournament)."
St. Charles East was crowned the team champion by placing nine wrestlers in the top three, including champions Ryan Rubino, Isaiah Vela and Ramon Lopez at 113, 132 and 152 pounds, respectively.
Rubino won a league title for the third consecutive year after handing Elgin junior Zach McCullough only his second loss of the season with a second-period fall.
"Practices have been very hard," said Rubino, who credited conditioning as his most formidable asset. "(I have been) running a lot, staying in better shape."
Lopez was all-business during his 11-3 major decision over Bartlett senior Brad Boyle at 152 pounds.
But Vela had the scare of the tournament among the early top-seeded contenders after Waubonsie Valley senior Jimmy Davis threw him in the second period and nearly secured a fall.
Vela stormed back, however, overcoming a 3-point deficit in the last minute with an escape, takedown and 2-point near fall to win 9-7.
"It kind of (made me mad) when I got thrown," Vela said. "I wanted to fight my way back."
"It was probably the most exciting match of the day," St. Charles East coach Jason Potter said. "I was proud of (how Vela maintained) his composure."
Joey Shump is two matches away from duplicating Logan Arlis' accomplishment of four years ago for Batavia: an undefeated regular season.
The Batavia senior was a machine at 126 pounds, extending his season-long winning streak to 34 matches with two more falls, including a third-period pin against South Elgin senior Cory Pych in the championship.
"Once you get to the regional, everyone is 0-0," Shump said of a possible unblemished season. "I was able get (Pych) on his back and pin him."
Jon Wagner and Brad Kearbey had rehearsed this play before.
Their epic encounter at their schools' dual meet had an encore performance in the finals at 160 pounds, and the results were the same for the Batavia senior.
Wagner had all the offensive points in his 6-1 victory over the St. Charles East senior.
"I didn't relax at any point," Wagner said. "When I got the (penalty point, the opening point, for the illegal) slam, I think that was the turning point of the match."
Brad Martens' defense of his championship was the highlight of the weekend for Geneva.
The senior advanced with a semifinal fall and extended his winning streak to 17 matches at 120 pounds with a 7-2 win over Neuqua Valley junior Justin Killacky.
"Personally, I don't like being the No. 1 seed at a tournament," Martens said. "You get into the mindset that you already have (the title) wrapped up."
Austin Schoen completed his mission and became the second Lake Park wrestler in its history to achieve a perfect conference run.
The Lancers' senior captured a fourth consecutive conference championship with a hard-fought 5-2 win over Waubonsie Valley senior Howard Beatty at 145 pounds.
Sam Geraci turned the feat for Lake Park during the 1980s.
"We believe (Schoen) is only the ninth person to win four times in the history of the Upstate Eight," Lake Park coach Todd Raymond said.
"The kid I was wrestling was by no means a scrub," Schoen said of his Waubonsie Valley foe. "I was able to control the match for the most part. I wrestled my behind off."
Schoen had previously captured league titles at 112 pounds as a freshman, 125 as a sophomore and 126 last year.
Connor Swier and Andrew Geersz lived up to their reputations for Neuqua Valley.
Swier, a 182-pound senior, scored all the offensive points in his 5-1 triumph over Geneva senior Jake Boser.
But Geers was even more impressive for the Wildcats.
The physically imposing 6-foot-7 heavyweight needed all of two minutes and 10 seconds of cumulative wrestling time to win his third straight 285-pound title.
Twenty-four of Geers' 29 victories, without a loss, have come via pin.
None of his three opponents lasted a minute against Geers this weekend.
"I wanted that O.W. (outstanding wrestler) award," Geers said. "It's hard to do as a heavyweight. (My height) gives me a lot more mobility on the mat."
The distinction of the league Most Valuable Wrestler honors instead went to Bartlett senior Sal Annoreno, the Hawks' reigning Class 3A state champion.
The 138-pounder had two falls to reach the finals and did not surrender a point with a 16-0 run that terminated the match early in the third period.
"It still makes you feel good," Annoreno replied when asked to compare a conference title with a state championship. "Everybody goes harder because you're a state champion. I think I got better on my feet (since last season)."
Elgin crowned a pair of conference champions.
Jeffery Morrow is poised to do some damage in the state series after improving to 25-2 on the season with a 6-0 victory over St. Charles East freshman Anthony Rubino in the finals at 106 pounds.
"I just have been working really hard in the (practice) room," Morrow, a junior, said. "My takedowns were a big advantage for me (in both the semifinals and finals)."
McCullough had to settle for runner-up for the Maroons at 113 pounds, but Ritchie Santana was a tank for the Maroons at 195 pounds.
The Maroons' junior turned away 28-match winner Anthony Napolitano from Waubonsie Valley simply to reach the finals, where he dispatched Batavia senior Mickey Watson with a cool precision.
Santana credited intelligence work as critical.
"I always watch my opponents in their matches," Santana said after his 7-4 victory over Watson. "I plan out the match in my head. Then I go out there with a lot of confidence."
In addition to Pych placing runner-up for South Elgin, Storm freshman Mike Perez won the major-consolation prize at 120 pounds with a 3-2 win in the third-place match.
Alex Curtis achieved the same distinction to headline the four place-winners for Streamwood.
The Sabres' 126-pounder defeated Elgin senior Charlie Wiltgen 6-2 in the third-place match.
Larkin senior Kory Plate is on the cusp of 20 victories after becoming the lone Royal to place, sixth at 182 pounds, at the 14-school tournament.
This article filed under
- Hanover Park
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- St. Charles
- Wood Dale
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- Metea Valley High School
- South Elgin High School
- St. Charles East High School
- St. Charles North High School
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