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updated: 2/23/2013 10:32 PM

Marmion takes 2nd in state

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  • Marmion's Alex Fritz, pictured last weekend against Andrew Geers in the individual semifinals in Champaign, helped the Cadets finish second Saturday in state.

      Marmion's Alex Fritz, pictured last weekend against Andrew Geers in the individual semifinals in Champaign, helped the Cadets finish second Saturday in state.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent

BLOOMINGTON -- The Marmion wrestling team had virtually no margin for error.

For a program which had never even had an individual state qualifier until its seventh season in existence, the Cadets' appearance in the Class 3A dual-team state finals against four-time champion Sandburg was yet another milestone achievement for the 11-year old team.

But the Cadets' hopes of terminating Sandburg unraveled as the defending champion Eagles blitzed Marmion with 32 unanswered points en route to a 38-17 victory Saturday night at U.S. Cellular Coliseum.

"We had the toughest road to get here," said Sandburg 152-pounder Mitch Cook, noting the Eagles' state series wins over Hinsdale Central, Oak Park-River Forest and Glenbard North. "They say it's tough to repeat, but we did it."

Marmion (26-3) began its day with a 39-14 victory over Minooka, and the Cadets' road to the state finals was complete when Lincoln-Way Central fell by a similar total of 33-16.

Mike Callahan opened the match for Marmion to literally escape for the only point of his 132-pound bout with the Eagles' Brian Krasowski.

Two-time state champion George Fisher then upped the Cadets' lead to 7-0 with 9 takedowns and a 3-point near-fall to barely miss a technical fall with 22 points.

But no lead is safe against Sandburg (28-4).

John Pellegrino denied Trace Carello by another 1-0 score to put the Eagles on the board, and Sandburg began to inexorably pull away behind its standout-laced lineup in the middle to upper weights.

Cook had his fall at 152 for Sandburg, and the run hit 15 points when CJ Brucki had another pin at 160 pounds.

"It's hard to win a state championship when you get pinned twice," Marmion coach Ryan Cumbee said. "We needed a lot of things to go our way in order to win."

Fisher was equally impressed with the Eagles' combination of steadfastness and unwillingness to go quietly.

"When a (Sandburg) kid needs a pin, they get a pin," the Michigan-bound Fisher said. "When you think you are going to get a pin, they fight like heck to make sure they don't pinned. That's what the young guys on our team need to learn."

The bonus points during the unanswered run were critical for Sandburg as Marmion wrestlers had virtually no chance against the Eagles' twin undefeated state champions at 170 and 195 pounds, Colin Holler and Ricky Robertson.

The two concluded their seasons with a combined 104-0 record to give Sandburg a commanding 29-7 lead.

"I don't think our boys were intimidated," Cumbee said. "I just think that we were outgunned. They are a senior-dominated team with like nine senior starters. We have seven freshmen starters. It was just biology. And you can't give up bonus points (in a dual meet)."

Marmion bookend medal-winners Alex Fritz and Anthony Bosco did secure wins at heavyweight and 106 pounds, respectively, to finally put a halt to the Sandburg carnage

In a final development for the Cadets, it was only fitting that Johnny Jimenez, who could become the ultimate rarity with a fourth individual state championship next year, earned the final win of the year for Marmion with his major decision at 120 pounds.

"It's a bummer we didn't what we wanted, a state championship," Jimenez said. "We had a great senior group. In a few years we'll be right up there with (Sandburg)."

It was the fifth state title since 2005 for the south suburban power.

"Sandburg is a class program with classy coaches," Cumbee said.

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