Wrestling: Four Wheaton Academy wreslers win regional titles

Will Hupke thought he was done with wrestling by the time he arrived at Wheaton Academy a few years ago.

Today, he's a regional champion, just a year after narrowly qualifying for state.

Hupke was one of four Warriors winning title matches during Saturday's Class 1A Plano Regional, but defending state champion Yorkville Christian continued its dominance, heading home with seven champions to win the regional.

Yorkville Christian finished with 268 while Wheaton Academy totaled 181.5. The host Reapers were third with 167, Sandwich was fourth with 101.5 and Lisle took fifth with 80.

"I had wrestled at a pretty high level coming into high school but was burned out and didn't think there was a chance I'd come back to the sport," Hupke said. "My coach, Justin Swider, called me down to his office one day freshman year and asked if I had any interest in wrestling and I said, 'No, not a chance,' but I started to think about it a little bit more."

Hupke, a Geneva resident, had joined cross country and was considering trying out for soccer all while realizing something was missing.

"There was almost a void without wrestling in my life so I was looking to fill that," he said. "I broke my wrist the first year back, and sophomore year I lost at sectionals and took fifth in the freshmen/sophomore state tournament. I have really enjoyed it this year."

Oscar Smith (113), Taggart Kazmierczak (145) and Jaylen Torres (285) also enjoyed themselves at Plano, joining Hupke as regional champions.

Yorkville Christian sent 11 wrestlers to championship matches and won seven of them, including Ty Edwards (120), who knocked off Wheaton Academy's Lincoln Hoger in the title bout.

"We did really well as a team." Edwards said. "There's a little bit we could improve on here and there, but I'm pleased with how our team did. I definitely did a lot better on my offense and just in controlling the ties."

Aiden Larsen (106), Noah Diah (132), Grason Johnson (138), Tyler Martinez (160), Jackson Gillen (170) and Christopher Durbin (182) also won for the Mustangs.

"I felt like we collectively could've wrestled better but we got seven champs so I guess that's pretty good," Gillen said. "I did pretty good. I did what I was supposed to do."

The Mustangs certainly aren't getting complacent.

"It's constant work and trying to get better all the time," Gillen said. "Especially after last year and knowing how hard it is."

It's one step, or in the case of wrestling, one match at a time.

"I've been pushing toward my goals and slowly achieving it," Edwards said. "My next goal is the first match at sectionals and getting that out of the way and just keep going from there."

Lisle, Plano and Sandwich each had one regional champ.

Lisle senior Joe Raineri slipped past Yorkville Christian's Jeremy Loomis, 3-2, to win at 195.

"I wasn't forcing anything, just working my stuff," Raineri said. "I wasn't going to do anything stupid. I was just looking to wrestle my own match and score my own points and wrestle well.

Raineri also won a regional title last year.

"Winning a regional last year was great so I was just trying to get back there," he said. "There are some tough kids in the regional and sectional and I'm not looking over anyone. I just got to wrestle the best I can every single match."

Lisle's Ryan Hsu (106) also placed second.

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