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Scouting regional wrestling / Northwest

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By Mike Garofola
Daily Herald Correspondent

Scouting regional wrestling

Class 3A

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at McHenry

When: 9 a.m. start, 2 p.m. finals

Advancement: Top 3 individuals advance to Barrington sectional; team champion advances to TBA dual-team sectional.

Cast: Barrington, Buffalo Grove, Cary-Grove, Crystal Lake South, Deerfield, Lake Zurich, McHenry, Prairie Ridge, Stevenson.

Storyline: Ask any coach here, and each will answer with nearly the same way: Ridiculous. That's how Ken Hoving (Barrington), Shane Cook (Stevenson) and Marc Pechter (Deerfield) each described the field at this venue. "You could see lead changes all throughout the entire day," Pechter said, "with nearly every team here having a chance at the title. One match could decide the team title, bonus points will be extremely important and you might see several top seeds upset. It's just ridiculous, and likely a very nerve-racking day for all of us."

Pechter's team arrives with the best dual-record (22-1-0) coming in. The CLS champs look like the favorite to most, including Hoving, who with his lineup finally together made a serious run at the MSL title before falling short down the stretch.

"Deerfield has beaten a lot of good teams, and Marc and his staff do a great job over there -- they're the team to beat, but Cary-Grove, (Crystal Lake) South, Lake Zurich, McHenry, Stevenson and us all believe we will be there in the end as well," Hoving said.

Last year Lake Zurich hosted most of the clubs here, but during the off-season, the IHSA added FVC powers McHenry and CLS to the field, in addition to Prairie Ridge, while removing two teams which sent just three to sectionals.

"There's going to be a lot of guys watching in the stands next week, and not wrestling -- there's just too much talent in some of these weight classes," said Cook.

Such as:

126: Chase Ori (Buffalo Grove), Logan Hanselmann (Cary-Grove, 22-6), Joe Fetherling (Crystal Lake South, 9-21), Brian Spinello (Deerfield, 34-8): Hanselmann's move up a weight makes this division more difficult than it was before, but the senior from BG, Ori, is taking it all in stride after coming back from a year away from the Bison. "Coach (Dave) Durlacher made it very easy to come back to the team, and it was a lot of 1-on-1 training with him that got me back and ready to go, and right now I know I can compete with the best in my weight class here."

145: Jake Siebert (Buffalo Grove, 26-8), Connor Boundy (Barrington, 24-13), Nick Barone (Crystal Lake South, 32-4), Brandon Arteaga (Lake Zurich), Brady Glantz (Deerfield, 25-7): It would be major suprise if it's not Barone vs. Arteaga (Nos. 11 and 7) in the final, making the qualifying third-place bout the one to watch.

160: Julius Smith (Barrington, 22-11), Emerson Kersten (Cary-Grove, 20-10), Juwan Anderson (Stevenson, 20-3), Charlie Popp (Prairie Ridge, 25-3), Cam Pait (McHenry, 20-3), Jack Powen (Deerfield, 29-12): Something has to give here. Too much talent, and not enough qualifying spots available.

220: Jack Bornhofen (23-8) versus Luis Hernandez (McHenry, 28-0): In a ironic twist of fate, one of these two may have been on the bench, or at another weight should Hernandez have stayed at Barrington. "Luis and I were teammates before he transfered to McHenry, so I have to admit that I will be looking looking forward to facing him in the regional final should I be fortunate enough to advance," said the senior. Bornhofen, who started slow after rehabbing from a high ankle sprain, officially made it all the way back by capturing a MSL title last weekend with a 3-1 victory over James Ford of Prospect. "The hardest thing about (that) injury was to trust my ankle again and hope that it would hold up, especially in the weight class that I compete in."

Must see: Michael Cullen (Cary-Grove, 20-3) vs. Andrew Mehrholz (Deerfield, 37-2): Should Cullen stay at 120, where he won his FVC title last weekend here in McHenry, fans will make sure to stay tuned for this potential final between the two-time state medalist from Cary-Grove and the No. 6-ranked Warriors sophomore. To the victor goes the spoils of a top three seed at the Barrington sectional, likely behind Steve Polakowski (Libertyville) and Keegan Powers (Hononegah).

at Glenbard East

When: 9 a.m. start, 2 p.m. finals

Advancement: Top 3 individuals advance to Leyden sectional; team champion advances to Conant dual-team sectional.

Cast: Leyden, Addison Trail, Glenbard West, Oak Park-River Forest, Proviso East, Wheaton North, Willowbrook.

Storyline: After top-rated OPRF gobbles up 14 sectional spots, the rest of the field will vie for the leftovers. Despite the presence of the No. 2-rated team in the nation (according to Intermat Magazine), the Huskies head a quality bunch here, which includes the state-ranked trio of Glenbard East and West, Wheaton North, plus Addison Trail, as well as an inexperienced club from Leyden, led by second-year head coach Mike Fumagalli.

"This is the toughest regional we've seen since I began at Leyden," said Fumagalli. "East, West, Addison Trail and Wheaton North are all very good teams, and, oh, by the way, the No. 2 team in the country is here as well. So we feel it's one of the toughest regionals in the state this year.

"Usually it's pretty clear at a regional which kids are going to advance, but not here (because) there are several weight classes which are 4, 5, 6 deep, which means several won't even get beyond this weekend."

Fumagalli feels he realistically has three competitors who could vie for a top-three finish.

at Glenbrook South

When: 9 a.m. start, 2:30 p.m. finals

Advancement: Top 3 individuals advance to Barrington sectional; team champion advances to TBA dual-team sectional.

Cast: Hersey, Fremd, Palatine, Prospect, Wheeling, Glenbrook North, Glenbrook South, Loyola, New Trier.

Storyline: Coach Tom Whalen is hoping its not a case of deja vu all over again as his team from Prospect looks to leapfrog past New Trier after falling short last season at the Fremd regional by 19 points to the Trevians. "Losing early round matches and not getting those bonus points which are out there, especially early on, is what came back and got us. So we've got to come out ready to go this weekend, and not like we did at the MSL tournament," said Whalen, whose Knights (22-4-0, 5-0-0) won the league's East Division but broke out of the gate slowly en route to a fourth-place team trophy at the tournament. Upper-weight excellence has been the cornerstone of the Knights' attack the past few seasons, and this year is no different with Tanner Strobel (182, 26-9), Jackson Wrede (195, 26-11) and James Ford (220, 30-10) each aspiring to win titles here.

Help may be on the way from the Knights' league rivals, with Fremd, Hersey, Palatine and Wheeling each featuring several elite competitors, capable of not only challenging for a top-three finish, but also throwing a wrench into the hopes of the favored teams.

The dynamic duo of Johny Carvajal (120, 32-9) and Tulga Zuunbayan (138, 34-7) gave Wheeling a pair of MSL titles, while sophomore Alex Jacobs (Fremd, 195, 24-5) in his first conference tournament, brought home a second-place medal behind state ranked Matt Stopka (26-4) of Schaumburg.

Hersey's Mitch MacTavish (24-9) will be after his second consecutive sectional appearance at 113, while his teammate Tyler Cooke (21-9) is coming off a terrific effort at the MSL tourney and looks to advance from the heavyweight division.

at Schaumburg

When: 9 a.m., 4:30 p.m.

Advancement: Top 3 individuals advance to Leyden sectional; team champion advances to Conant dual-team sectional.

Cast: Conant, Elk Grove, Hoffman Estates, Maine West, Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg, Lake Park, Maine South, Streamwood.

Storyline: It looks like it's Conant vs. Schaumburg, Part III. After a super tight dual during the regular season went the Cougars' way, they were able to follow suit with a half-point victory in the MSL tournament. Now the two will be at it again, and with plenty more at stake.

"I am going to go home and try to get some sleep, because I don't know if I'll be able to get any this week just thinking about what's ahead at our regional," said Conant coach Chad Hay, long after his club hoisted the MSL silverware last weekend at host Hersey.

"Schaumburg just kept coming at us, and we fully expect the same type of pressure from them. So we know we'll have to be better, win the matches we're supposed to, pick up bonus points and maybe get a little help from some of the other teams that will be there."

Wordlessly watching after knowing his club had narrowly missed a championship, Schaumburg coach Mike Levanti must take solace in the fact his athletes were tremendous against their MSL foes before a slip in the final session.

Despite that, the Saxons do possess the type of firepower to put pressure on their foes.

There will be several divisions targeted by fans as must-see viewing, and in addition to Bobby Alexander (Conant, 29-2), Logan Gruszka (11-1), Luke Gruszka (Schaumburg, 24-4), Dan Andress (Conant, 30-7), Tom Brewster (Maine South, 27-1), Dardiu Kardiu (Rolling Meadows, 32-7) and others, both Sadarriss Patterson (Schaumburg) and Joey Vogeney (Maine West, 35-3) could lay claim to Outstanding Wrestler at day's end. Patterson (28-3) left little doubt who was the best 170-pounder at the MSL tourney, but it took a loss to Andress in the Krupke Invite at Lake Park to light a fire under the two-sport (football) star. "I was complacent and far too comfortable, and that loss to Dan, who is a great wrestler, was exactly what I needed to help me (back) to where I needed to be," said the senior.

Vogeney, a sophomore, is searching for his second straight regional crown under Maine West coach Lance Weber.

"Joey had a great tournament at conference to win there, and he continues to wrestle better and better as the season continues, and my hope is to see him continue to grow and peak at the state series," said Weber.

285: Matt Zolper (Schaumburg, 25-7), Tyler LaBarbera (Conant, 22-8), Junior Castillo (Hoffman Estates, 19-2), Alex Rader (Streamwood, 22-7), Kendrick Hardwick (Lake Park, 34-6), Andy Kopplin (Maine South, 25-9): Competition will be lively as the talent far exceeds the three spots available. None of the six mentioned above can be found in the top 10, but all are worthy of special mention, including conference champs Zolper (MSL) and Rader (UEC) as well as LaBarbera, who pinned Hardwick, is 1-1 vs. Zolper and lost to Hardwick in OT.

Class 2A

at Wauconda

When: 9 a.m. start, 2 p.m. finals

Advancement: Top 3 individuals advance to Lakes sectional; team champion advances to Antioch dual-team sectional.

Cast: St. Viator, Antioch, Carmel, Grayslake Central, Grayslake North, Lakes, North Chicago, Vernon Hills, Wauconda.

Storyline: Most of the best from the North Suburban Conference's Prairie Division is here, including Antioch, which is on a mission to reach its third consecutive trip to the 2A dual-team state tournament.

The Sequoits will have their hands full in fending off their conference rivals, as will any opponent of 2A star Nate Magiera (40-0) who is the real deal for Wauconda at 220 pounds, especially after his recent 7-0 decision of No. 4 (3A) Sage Hecox of Harlem.

St. Viator coach Jason Churak proved prophetic after correctly predicting three of his athletes would earn all-ESCC honors, and when Brandon Suchtya (145), Joe McIntrye (170, 27-11) and Shamon Johnson (182, 23-9) finished in the top 3 last weekend at the conference tourney, the trio grabbed their league honors. Chruak will have a full complement ready to go on Saturday, and the hope is the Lions will get several into the sectionals, with the veteran Suchtya (23-5) perhaps having the least resistance in his division following a second-place finish in the ESCC.

The task ahead for McIntyre (27-11) is a difficult one with the likes of Cody Sawyer (Grayslake North, 26-8), Jared Smith (Lakes, 22-5) and Zack Keeler (Antioch, 24-13) all standing in the way. Smith, a sophomore, won 31 times last season on his way to a sectional appearance in his freshman year.

-- Mike Garofola

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