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updated: 2/15/2014 2:00 AM

Trio steps up for sectional host Barrington

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By Mike Garofola
Daily Herald Correspondent

On the big mats in their own house, Barrington's Mitch Stathakis, Matt Conrad and Julius Smith drew one step closer to booking their spot in the Class 3A wrestling state tournament.

The sophomore 106-pounder Stathakis (30-3) showed his intent with a masterful 14-2 major decision to send him into Saturday's 9 a.m. semifinal against Michael Lynch of New Trier.

Conrad, a senior, left little doubt in his match with Sam Riportella (33-10) of Mundelein, which resulted in an impressive 13-0 major in his second-round bout at 132 pounds. Next up is Christian Fausel (26-10) of Hononegah.

And Smith, who has made a habit of late of keeping the Broncos faithful on the edge of their seats with last-minute success, was up to his old tricks when he used a takedown in the closing moments to outlast Prospect freshman Matt Wroblewski (33-8) 3-1 in his 160-pound quarterfinal.

"Matt really came to wrestle today," said Barrington coach Ken Hoving, who will now try to coax a few more victories from several competitors in the consolation bracket who face a tough journey through wrestlebacks to earn a top-four finish and trip downstate.

"(Smith) has been staying close and winning a lot of matches just like that since our conference tournament, but I really would have liked him to attack a little more and go for his take-downs, because he did a good job of controlling the tie-ups against a very good young wrestler," said Broncos assistant coach Dave Udchik.

Smith will need to be at his best as he faces two-time sectional qualifier and NSC champ Emery Parker (34-2) of Warren in his semifinal.

Wroblewski's teammate James Ford (34-10) gave the Knights fans something to cheer about when the junior outlasted Jacobs talented senior Mark Mamola (34-4) in a marathon OT bout at 220 pounds 3-2.

"That wasn't the plan," said an exhausted Ford, who will face Libertyville standout Kevin Barbian (34-3), ranked No. 6 in the state by "(Mamola) was very strong, so I tried the arm drag through for most of the time. But he was such a difficult opponent, and it came down to me maybe having a lot of two- or three-OT matches in the room with my teammate Jackson Wrede, which might have made the difference."

Ford along with Wrede won individual titles last weekend when the Knights captured the Glenbrook South regional championship.

The only other good piece of good news from the MSL was at 138 pounds, where Wheeling sophomore Tulga Zuunbayan (38-7) marched into the semifinals following a 10-4 victory over Peter Minwegen of Barrington, who in his sectional opener stunned 31-match winner Cristian Coronado of Grant 5-4.

Zunnbayan, who won his second consecutive regional crown last weekend, next faces Huntley junior Brandon Meyer (33-7) with the hope of advancing downstate after dropping both of his matches here last season in his freshman year under coach Neal Weiner.

"That was a good win for Tulga, but frankly, any way you can get a win and still stay alive in the championship bracket, and away from wrestlebacks is what it's all about at this time of the season," said Weiner.

The medal round will begin at approximately 3 p.m., with third and fourth place being decided in addition to the individual champions in all (14) weight classes.

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