Antioch, Montini make the move downstate
The Antioch wrestling team has done it again.
In 2010, the Sequoits qualfied for the Class 2A Elite Eight dual-team tournament for the first time in school history.
Tuesday night, host Antioch made it downstate for the third time in four seasons as the Sequoits toppled Amundsen 44-27 in their own sectional meet.
Antioch (16-14) will face Bowen in the state quarterfinals Saturday at 9 a.m. at U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington. Amundsen closed out the season with a 15-12 record.
In the other sectional championship match at Antioch, 10-time state champion Montini (31-4) rolled past Crystal Lake Central (14-10) 59-7 to return to the Elite Eight meet.
The top-ranked Broncos will be going for a sixth straight state title beginning with a quarterfinal contest against Lincoln-Way West at 11 a.m.
Starting the dual meet at 113 pounds, Antioch took a quick 6-0 lead when junior Briley Schultz (38-16) pinned Andre Padgett in 2:25.
The visiting Vikings did hang tough early on as Jerry Flores' 13-6 decision over Austin Ellis at 120 and a pin by Rafael Suteu at 126 gave them an early 9-6 advantage.
But forfeiting four matches later in the meet would ultimately spell doom for Amundsen as the Sequoits had the luxury of using some different wrestlers with 24 points coming there way from weights 195 through 106.
Chris Ruth got Antioch back on the winning track with an 8-2 decision over Rudy Lemus at 132 to tie the score at 9-9.
Pins by Amundsen's Jonathan Flores at 138 and Antioch's Mike Gussarson (40-12) at 145 deadlocked the score at 15-15.
The Sequoits took a brief 20-15 lead on a technical fall by Johnny Denikas at 152. But the Vikings got a pin at 160 and decisions at 170 and 182 to go ahead 27-20 with four matches left.
That was the end of the road for Amundsen as Antioch picked up forfeit wins by Caleb Sablan (195), Julio Ramirez (220), Dylan McBride (285), and Nathan Dlugoposki (106) to roll to the win.
"We were trying to go out there and get it over with and we moved a lot of guys up so we weren't wrestling at our normal weights," said Gussarson, who was a three-time individual state qualifier and a member of all three Elite Eight squads. "We're definitely going in there (to state) to win the first one, and if we win the first one we'll go from there."
The Sequoits placed fourth in the state last winter, but they lost four state qualifiers to graduation.
"We gave a few kids an opportunity to wrestle varsity and we knew we had 24 points from the forfeits so we wanted to give them matches," said Antioch coach Wilbur Borrero. "We're excited about making it three times in four years and obviously we've been fortunate with some of the draws and we're happy to take it. But we've won the regional three times in four years."
Montini jumped all over Crystal Lake Central from the outset as the Broncos built a 19-0 lead after four bouts.
Montini had four individuals crowned state champions last weekend including Chris Garcia (138), Xavier Montalvo (160), Jake Turk (now 44-8 at 182), and Anthony Ferraro (195). Garcia is out for the rest of the season due to a concussion he suffered last weekend.
Turk moved up to 195 Tuesday and he rolled to a 15-2 major decision to give the Broncos a commanding 41-7 lead at that point.
"We're all wrestling well, and we don't think anybody can stop us," said Turk, who transferred to Montini from Burlington Central his junior year. "We're just going to keep doing what we're doing, keep wrestling hard, stick to our game plan, and keep dominating."
Montini coach Israel Martinez says that there is no secret to all of the success the Broncos' program has enjoyed over the past decade-plus.
"The key to our success is just our coaching staff, the people at Montini, and getting the kids in there who know what it takes to be succesful and we put in the hard work," said Martinez. "We want to keep the guys focused, keep the discipline, and keep these guys wrestling hard."
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