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updated: 3/1/2014 10:10 PM

Montini rolls to 7th straight championship

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By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent

One week after crowning five Class 2A individual champions, the Montini wrestling squad achieved another milestone Saturday in Bloomington.

The Broncos steamrolled Washington, Cahokia and Geneseo to win their seventh consecutive dual team state championship.

In the process Montini eclipsed Providence for the most titles in state history with their 11th overall championship; all have come since the 1999-2000 school year.

Montini is the only program to win a Class 2A title since the sport expanded to three classes in 2007-08. But it will be the final time in the division for Montini after the IHSA recently passed legislation dictating an automatic upgrade in class for dominant private school programs.

"We are looking forward to going to 3A," said Montini 170-pound state champion Xavier Montalvo. "We will wrestle anyone. We want to show people that we belong (in 3A). We feel that we have wrestled the toughest schedule in the state--every year."

Montini began its day by claiming 10 of the 14 matches against Washington in its 50-18 victory.

The Broncos' five state champions --- Montalvo, Vince Turk (145 pounds), Dylan Duncan (120), Kegan Calkins (126) and Chris Garcia (138)--- were undefeated on the day.

The Montini dual-meet semifinal at U.S. Cellular Coliseum against Cahokia was even more one-sided as seven of the first eight wrestlers earned bonus points for the Broncos' in building a 42-0 lead.

Montini ultimately cruised to a 57-9 triumph, and the championship match against Geneseo was competitive early.

A traditional football and wrestling power, Geneseo also eased into the championship match with convincing wins.

But the Broncos' depth and experience eventually told an unmistakable tale on Geneseo.

James Pawelski (113), Duncan, Montalvo and heavyweight Michael Johnson -- a state runner-up --- all had pins.

Turk had a technical fall in the final match at 145 pounds to put the exclamation on the Broncos' 49-21 state championship.

"I knew that I was a little bit stronger," Montalvo said. "I wanted to get out there and pin him. Dominate him."

The four-year starters have indelible memories.

"I was having fun out there," said Garcia, who wrestled two weights up to get the Montini express started with a 7-1 decision at 152 pounds.

"I did not concentrate on it being my final match. When they raised my hand, it hit me that (my senior season) was over. To win a (team) state title every year is special. I believed in my teammates, and they believed in me."

"It will be interesting to see if (Montini) can continue the tradition (in Class 3A)," said Marmion coach Ryan Cumbee, whose squad finished third in the largest division.

Oak Park-River Forest scored the final 9 points to turn back Marist for the Class 3A championship, 31-22.

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