Fittest loser

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  • Barrington’s Mitch Stathakis is bent backward by Marist’s Jimmy McAuliffe on Friday in the 106-pound quarterfinals of the Class 3A state tournament. Stathakis won 6-2.

    Conant’s Alexander excels but misses title shotFeb 21, 2014 12:00 AM
    For a brief moment Friday night, Bobby Alexander sent shock waves through the State Farm Center, the kind the usual big wrestling state semifinals crowd hopes for each year. The Conant junior, who fought and defended with all his might during the opening moments against No. 1 Jared Cortez turned the tables on the nationally ranked Glenbard North star by putting him on his back. Much to the surprise and delight of many fans, who thought they might be seeing the end of a fourth straight state title pursuit for the Illinois-bound Cortez. But after that first-period jolt, Cortez got his footing back and eventually defeated Alexander (37-4), sending sent the Cougars’ standout into the consolation bracket. He still has a chance for a top-three medal, which would be his second in three seasons.

  • Down to a final day at stateFeb 21, 2014 12:00 AM
    They have been the mainstays for Glenbard North the last three years. But Jered Cortez is returning to a familiar perch for the final day of the individual wrestling season; Jon Marmolejo, on the other hand, is in uncharted territory to conclude his extraordinary time with the Panthers. Marmion is the common theme for the two seniors.

  • John Starks/ Lake Park’s Nico Daniello grabs the head of Batavia’s Connor McKeehan Friday in quarterfinals of the 220-pound weight class of the 3A IHSA state tournament at the University of Illinois in Champaign.

    Marmion’s Jimenez one match from historyFeb 21, 2014 12:00 AM
    Jon Marmolejo has the ultimate chance at redemption on Saturday in the Class 3A 126-pound wrestling state-championship match. The Glenbard North senior has a chance to reverse his only defeat of the season, but Johnny Jimenez has his own agenda. The Marmion senior dispatched two DuPage Valley Conference members, Dayton Olson of Glenbard East and Dylan Thomas of Wheaton North, to advance to his fourth consecutive state finals appearance.

  • Christian Brunner of Dundee-Crown is lifted and thrown by Alex Benoit of Marist High School Friday in the 182-pound weight class semifinals of the wrestling IHSA Class 3A state tournament at State Farm Center in Champaign. Brunner came back to win the match and will wrestle for the state championship today.

    Dundee-Crown’s Brunner taking Champaign by stormFeb 21, 2014 12:00 AM
    Dundee-Crown assistant Matt Wahl said Christian Brunner he was a year away from greatness. Chargers’ head coach Robert Skillman added his super sophomore was on a the cusp of something special. The Chargers’ duo probably won’t mind being a little off with their predictions now that their top man became the man the stars at 182 pounds should fear. Brunner (43-4), the only unseeded player in the quarterfinals, would first stun No. 6 Jimmy Mickens (Mt. Carmel, 36-9) Friday afternoon, then shock No. 1 Alex Benoit (38-3) of Marist in an OT tiebreaker in the semifinals to advance into tonight’s state final against No. 2 Colton Emmerich (46-1) of Deerfield in a rematch of the sectional final last weekend in Barrington.

  • Libertyville's Joey Gunther is declared the winner against Keone Derain of St. Charles East Friday in quarterfinals of the 152-pound weight class of the 3A IHSA state tournament .

    Images: State Wrestling, Friday, Feb. 21Feb 21, 2014 12:00 AM
    Images from state Boys Wrestling Individual quarterfinals and semifinals at State Farm Center in Champaign on Friday, Feb. 21.

  • Libertyville’s Chris McDermand raises his fists in victory after beating Michael Hobbs of Downers Grove South Friday in the Class 3A 285-pound quarterfinals Friday in Champaign.

    Libertyville’s Polakowski, Warren’s Parker make title boutsFeb 21, 2014 12:00 AM
    Last year, Steve Polakowski and Emery Parker last year could not have been further from competing for a state title. But Saturday night, the dynamic duo from the North Suburban Conference will be chasing Class 3A championships in Champaign. Wauconda senior Nate Magiera will do likewise at 220 pounds as he pursues the top honor in Class 2A.

  • Five MSL wrestlers stake their claim in quarterfinalsFeb 20, 2014 12:00 AM
    As the final whistles were blown across the big floor of State Farm Arena to signal the end of the first day of competition at the wrestling state tournament Thursday, the state of play follows: Five Mid-Suburban League competitors have a foothold in the championship bracket after advancing into Friday’s quarterfinals. Barrington’s Mitch Stathakis (106 pounds, 33-3) and Matt Conrad (132, 32-11) advanced with first-round victories, as did Wheeling’s Tulga Zuunbayan (40-8), after a stunning OT win. Champaign veteran Matt Stopka (Schaumburg) and three-time qualifier, Bobby Alexander (Conant), whose travel plans here were almost cancelled, join their teammates from the MSL for Friday’s 1:30 p.m. quarterfinals and a chance at the 7 p.m. semifinals, which would guarantee a state medal later.

  • FVC wrestlers have stellar day at stateFeb 20, 2014 12:00 AM
    The Fox Valley Conference championship machine was at it again Thursday night. The magnificent six — Michael Cullen, Logan Hanselman, Nick Gil, Eric Barone, Christian Brunner, and Jeremy Marshall — who just three weeks ago reigned supreme at the conference tourney, all were purring during the first day of the Class 3A state tournament on the big floor of State Farm Arena ion Champaign. This group is still all alive in the championship bracket when today’s late morning quarterfinals take place, with an eye on tonight’s semifinals.

  • Lake County’s best meet first-round tests downstateFeb 20, 2014 12:00 AM
    Lake County’s elite competitors outclassed their foes competition Thursday night as the state wrestling tournament got started at State Farm Arena on the University of Illinois campus. Jordan Reich (Vernon Hills, 120, 39-4), Nate Magiera (Wauconda, 220, 45-1) and Libertyville’s Steve Polakowski (120, 40-1) and Kayne MacCullum (170, 40-1) each trumped their opponents, sending all four into Friday’s quarterfinals. The road will only get tougher for this quartet and the others competing in the championship bracket.

  • Batavia’s Connor McKeehan pins Neuqua Valley’s DJ Warkenthien in the 220-pound match final at the Upstate Eight Conference championship at Elgin High School last month.

    Wheaton Academy bringing football back to campusFeb 20, 2014 12:00 AM
    With apologies to the Dos Equis guy, Batavia's Connor McKeehan may be the most interesting man in the world.

  • Scouting state wrestling / Fox ValleyFeb 19, 2014 12:00 AM
    Here's a look at the wrestling state tourament from the perspective of nothern Fox Valley schools.

  • Scouting state wrestling / NorthwestFeb 19, 2014 12:00 AM
    Here's a look at the wrestling state tournament, from the perspective of teams in the Mid-Suburban League plus St. Viator and Maine West.

  • Scouting state wrestling / Lake CountyFeb 19, 2014 12:00 AM
    Here's a look at the wrestling state meet from the perspective of Lake County's participants.

  • Mitch Stathakis of Barrington pumps his fists after winning the 106-pound final with a pin at Barrington on Saturday.

    Barrington’s Stathakis wins at 106Feb 15, 2014 12:00 AM
    Mitch Stathakis maintained his perfect postseason record following yet another sparkling weekend performance on the wrestling mats. The Barrington sophomore was virtually flawless on Saturday at the Broncos’ home, using a lethal attack to defeat two challengers, the last coming in the 106-pound final against Ulises Jacobo of DeKalb. Stathakis pinned the sophomore at 1:47 to capture the only championship crown for the Mid-Suburban League at the Barrington sectional.

  • Dundee-Crown’s Christian Brunner screams in pain as he is brought down in the final seconds of the 182-pound final during sectional wrestling finals in Barrington Saturday.

    Crystal Lake South duo impressiveFeb 15, 2014 12:00 AM
    In what may be his most important victory thus far at Crystal Lake South, Eric Barone showed remarkable staying power as he pulled a cunning move in OT to defeat No. 3 Fernie Silva of Hononegah to capture a sectional championship at 145 pounds Saturday afternoon at Barrington.

  • Hinsdale Central’s Matt Allen defeats Morton’s Kevion Anderson 6-4, in the 220 pound class of the 3A Hinsdale Central individual wrestling sectional semifinals.

    Marmion has a big dayFeb 15, 2014 12:00 AM
    The Marmion wrestling team has an entirely different look from this time in January. The Cadets, the reigning state runners-up in Class 3A, were forfeiting as many as five weight classes due to injuries last month. But one week after dominating the Waubonsie Valley regional, Marmion had another stellar team performance at the Hinsdale Central individual sectional on Saturday afternoon.

  • Glenbard North sends 7 to stateFeb 15, 2014 12:00 AM
    With 12 out of 14 wrestlers qualifying for the state tournament, and 10 of them winning the sectional, Oak Park-River Forest continued it run of dominance Saturday at the Leyden sectional in Franklin Park. But that did not deter wrestlers from other schools from flexing muscles of their own. Glenbard North was able to qualify seven of the 11 athletes it sent to Leyden, with Jared Cortez (132 pounds) and Jon Marmolejo (126) winning their weight class. Kirk Johansen (106), Austin Gomez (113), Patrick Augustyn (120) Colton Wegner (170) all finished third with Luke Greenberg (195) qualifying and finishing fourth in his weight class for the Panthers.

  • Libertyville’s Kayne MacCallum takes down Stevenson’s Tyler Harrington en route to winning the 170-pound final during Class 3A sectional wrestling finals in Barrington on Saturday.

    Libertyville, Grant lead march downstateFeb 15, 2014 12:00 AM
    Libertyville collectively flexed its muscle Saturday in Barrington, and Warren’s Emery Parker validated his chances as a trophy chaser in the upcoming week as the Class 3A state tournament begins. The Wildcats, who are on their way to the dual-team sectionals later this month, won four individual titles and will send six downstate after a successful second day of sectional wrestling Saturday at Barrington. North Suburban Conference champion Grant will have five in action Thursday in Champaign, including 132-pound champion Troy Parent (30-9). Lake Zurich will send three into action later in the week.

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