Sure, Crystal Lake South coach Ross Ryan would like to have hoisted the Fox Valley Conference wrestling tournament championship trophy Saturday at McHenry High School.
But Ryan was happy with his team's second place conference finish.
Wrestling without 195-pounder Brian Pence, the Gators (163 ½ points) were runner-up to Crystal Lake Central, which claimed top honors with 199 points. Cary-Grove was third a half point behind South with 163 points.
'All in all we had a lot of kids wrestle very well," said Ryan. "We still have a lot of work to do. We needed some kids to finish matches better."
Three Gators landed in the championship winners circle.
Gator 138-pounder Nick Gil upped his record to an impressive 33-1 by defeating Brandon Meyer of Huntley in the championship match by technical fall 25-10. It was the South senior's second straight conference crown/
'My goal is to always go for the pin, but he was tough so I had to take him down to get points," said Gil. "My strategy was to go for the feet and get points that way. I got my loss out of the way last week so I am very focused going into regionals next week."
Junior 145-pounder Eric Barone followed Gil's title with a first-place effort and a 16-5 major decision win over McHenry's Carter Herber.
Casey Callahan, a senior, claimed the championship at 152 with a hard-fought 3-1 overtime decision over Cary-Grove's Matt Hughes.
Placing fourth for Crystal Lake South were Garrett Dziedzic (120), Nick Dorn (170), and Roland Gastfield (220). Hunter Stroh (182) placed fifth and Mike Golden at 160 was sixth.
Cary-Grove was led by 120-pound junior Michael Cullen, who won his third straight individual title. Cullen, who upped his season record to 20-3, knocked off Lenny Peterson of Crystal Lake Central 5-2.
'Congratulations to Peterson from Central, he wrestled very well," said Cullen. "I always go for the pin but he wouldn't let me pin him. I will shoot for a fourth straight title next year. I feel really strong going into the regionals next week."
The Trojans also got a first-place effort from senior Logan Hanselmann, who earned the title at 126 with a 3-1 win over Huntley's Ricky Vigil.
C-G had runner-up finishes from Hughes (152), Emerson Kersten (160) and Michael Gomez (285).
Fashioning third-place finishes for the Trojans were John Cullen (132) and Josh Dermont (170). Cary-Grove also got a fifth-place finish from Dale Charlier (138) and Grant Glueck was sixth at 145.
Dundee-Crown, which missed 138-pounder Martell Thompson Saturday because of a knee injury he sustained in the preliminary matches on Friday, finished fifth with a score of 143.
'We missed Martell because would have scored some points," said D-C coach Bob Skillman. "I don't think we could have caught Central but I thought second was possible. We had 9 kids place and I thought was could have had 11 or 12 kids place."
Two Chargers were crowned as champions.
Sophomore 182-pounder Christian Brunner upped his record for the season to 34-3 with a 4-2 win over Crystal Lake Central's Mike Zelasco in the title match.
'I just outworked him," said an exhausted Brunner. 'I knew it would take the whole match to get the win. I worked for his feet to get the win."
Senior 285-pounder Jeremy Marshall, who set the single season school record for pins with 29 earlier in the week, knocked off Gomez of Cary-Grove in the championship match 9-2.
"I am so proud of both Christian and Jeremy," said Skillman. 'They were both outstanding. We have a long tradition of three-time conference champions and I think Christian Brunner has a chance to join that elite company."
D-C junior Jarrod Raap (170) was second, losing to Central's Kyle Fugiel, who pinned him in 2:40.
With fifth place finishes for the Chargers were Diamond Flynn (106), Adam Guiterrez (126) and Tom Schanmier (152) and sixth place ribbons were earned by Jequan Flynn (132), Christian Rodriguez (195) and Christian Johnson (220),
Sixth-place Huntley got second-place finishes from Vigil (126) and Meyer (138). Placing third for the Red Raiders were Nick Meyer (113) and Mike Walker (195) while fourth-place finishes were earned by Josh Stenger (106) and Matt Kitsis (145) and Dominic Swanson (220)
Jacobs was led by the first-place effort of 220-pounder Mark Mamola, who overpowered Crystal Lake Central's Connor Hines 7-1 to earn first place gold.
"I scored some big points on the few shots I got," said Mamola. "I was able to get inside position to get crucial points."
Like Mamola, Jacobs' 106-pounder Beau Harrier got to the championship match but lost to Hampshire's Kyle Szlenk in a major decision 11-2.
For the Golden Eagles placing third were Cory Ferencz (120) and Chris Dranka (126) and a fourth-place medal was earned by Michael Ricks (160), while Eric Sckulavick (195) was fifth and Dean Lane (138), Charles Goins (182) and Zach Lehman (285) finished sixth.
Hampshire was led by Szlenk's championship at 106. Szlenk majored decisioned Harrier of Jacobs 11-2.
'I was aggressive and stayed on my feet," said the Hampshire sophomore. "I was able to get a lot of points and dominate."
The Whip-Purs got a third-place finish from Anton Krocko (182) with fifth-place efforts coming from Jake Szlenk (113), Willie Allen (120) and John Jimenez (285).
Grayslake Central got a third-place finish from Jonathan Makey (152) and fourth place efforts came from Kurt Radtke (113), Larry Augustine (132) and David Thiel (182).
Grayslake North had three fifth-place finishes and two sixth-place efforts. The Knights got fifth-place finishes from Alex Moran (145), Colton Deatherage (132), and Cody Sawyer (170). Mitchell Klein (113) and Jake Wright (126) were sixth.