With day one of the competition now in the books Friday night, the stage is set for the exciting conclusion to the Class 2A Lakes individual wrestling sectional beginning Saturday morning in Lake Villa.
The wrestling gets underway at 10 a.m. before the critical semifinals take place at approximately 11:30 a.m. Session III begins with semifinal wrestlebacks at 2:30 p.m. followed by first and third-place matches around 4 p.m.
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The top four wrestlers in each weight class will advance to the state meet Feb. 20-22 at State Farm Center in Champaign.
Carmel was very impressive Friday night as the Corsairs had four individuals advance straight into the semifinals starting with junior Brodie Palm (28-9) at 113, sophomore Kenny Barber (34-4) at 126, senior Anthony Swindell (32-8) at 138, and senior Joe Salvi (36-8) at 160 for coach Bob Kuykendall.
Antioch was also very solid on the opening night of the powerful two-day sectional as senior Briley Schultz (31-4) got one step closer to a third straight trip downstate.
The Sequoits will also be represented in the semifinals by 170-pound senior Zach Keller (27-14), and 195-pound freshman George Bessette (35-4).
No. 1-ranked Montini has a sectional qualifier in 13 of the 14 weight classes and Schultz will be facing a tough challenge against Montini sophomore Jimmy Pawelski in the semifinals. Montini has won 10 state team titles, including six in a row.
"I'm going to go out there looking to win and I lost to the Montini guy by two points last year in the quarterfinals at sectionals," said Schultz, who won the Wauconda regional last weekend. "I'm looking to win state, I have the confidence, the technique, and the endurance. I just have to keep my head in it."
Wauconda has two semifinalists led by senior standout Nate Magiera, who improved to 43-0 with a pin in 59 seconds at 220. The Bulldogs also saw 182-pound senior Alex Schwickrath (32-7) reach the semifinals with a pin in 3:21.
"Nate is just very sound fundamentally, he's not going to wow you, he's just going to get the job done," said Wauconda coach Tom Nance. "If we can get him (Schwickrath) to wrestle his match for six minutes it takes a very good wrestler to beat him."
The host Eagles got 132-pounder Sam Callahan into the semifinals along with 152-pound teammate Kavan Mulloy (32-5).
"We're not looking as sharp as last weekend, but all eight guys are still alive," said Lakes coach Mark Stave, whose team won the Wauconda regional. "Mulloy should be in good shape (Saturday), and Sam Callahan is looking good at 132."
Grayslake Central also got two individuals into the semifinals with 2013 state qualifier Jon Makey (37-8) ready to battle at 152, and teammate Kurtis Radke poised to advance at 113.
Elite Vernon Hills senior Jordan Reich (37-3) reached the semifinals with a technical fall at 120 while Grayslake North freshman Joe Arroyo won a tough quarterfinal bout at 106.
"He (Reich) tech falled a kid, but it was a pretty tough kid, and you don't want to take anything for granted," said Vernon Hills coach Jerry Micelli. "I think Felipe Vazquez (138) has a good chance coming back in the wrestlebacks and Peter Vanderbloomer (126) has a solid chance."
St. Viator junior Brandon Suchyta (25-7) won his quarterfinal match at 145 as did Hampshire junior Anton Krocko (35-7) at 182. Krocko is going for back-to-back trips to Champaign.
Antioch coach Wilbur Borrero is looking forward to the challenge Saturday.
"We've got three guys in the semifinals and all seven are still alive," Borrero said. "We've got some tough matches coming up and we expect it to be another good match for Briley (Schultz) against Montini."