Boys wrestling: Six Saints win sectional titles at Conant
The stars aligned for Conant’s Harley Stary Saturday at the Conant sectional finals in Hoffman Estates.
Stary, who is a senior, moved up to the 285-pound class earlier this season. The move proved to be fruitful.
He pinned Elk Grove’s Miley Milovich 40 seconds into the second period to earn his third consecutive trip to the state finals. It will be the first time Stary will be headed to Champaign as a sectional champion.
“I was playing football at 255 and I was able to get to 215, but I just didn't feel comfortable there,” said Stary, who weighed in at 238 pounds.
“I figured I am already committed to play football (Wisconsin-Platteville), so I figured I might as well feel good.”
Stary said that he dedicated his win to his mom Kris, a teacher at Palatine who is battling cancer.
“I do this for my mom,” Harley Stary said. “It is nice to have her here and feeling better.”
Conant coach Andrew Guilde said Stary had been improving after he lost to Milovich 4-2 earlier in the season.
“He has been wrestling great,” Guilde said. “His first time wrestling Milovich was Stary’s first match at heavyweight. So he kind of learned how to wrestle at that weight.”
While it was a special day for Stary, it was a huge day for St. Charles East. The Saints had eight grapplers advance to the sectional finals with six coming away with titles.
“I happy for the guys who went out and made the finals,” St. Charles East coach Jason Potter said. “As a coach I feel for everyone including the kids who didn't get it done. But having eight guys in the finals is pretty cool.”
Defending state champion Dom Munaretto started things off for the Saints with tough 1-0 win over Glenbard North’s Dominick Marre. Munaretto had a second period escape for the match’s only point.
“I felt good about my match,” said Munaretto, who improved to 46-2. “I got to my attacks. I wrestled open and I was looking to score.”
Maine South’s Teddy Flores beat South Elgin’s Demetrios Carrera 5-1 for the 120 title. Christian Chavez from Glenbard North then held off Elk Grove’s Grant Madl 3-2 at 126.
It was then St. Charles East which began a huge winning streak, capturing the next four bouts.
Ben Davino, who is a three-time state champion, kicked it off with a fall over Damian Valdez from Addison Trail just one minute into the 132 title match.
“I was going out here and things started to come together and I got him to his back,” said Davino, who had a pair of technical falls before his pin to up his record to 48-0.
Tyler Guerra followed at 138. After consecutive falls in his first two matches, Guerra beat Oak Park’s Jason Knackstedt 13-5.
“I just wanted to open up,” said Guerra, who is now 47-1. “I was feeling good and I am getting ready for state.”
Jayden Colon, who is a two-time state champion, won in fall at 1:58 over DeKalb’s Mekhi Cave at 144. Colon won all three of his matches by falls.
“It is very nice,” said Colon, who improve to 39-5. “I love keeping it rolling out there. I am looking forward to getting back down to state.”
Gavin Connolly closed out the Saints’ winning streak at 150. Connolly beat Fernando Lopez of Lane Tech 7-1. Connolly missed going downstate last year as a junior, but advanced his sophomore year.
“It wasn't easy, but I was petty confident,” said Connolly, who now is 39-10. “I am just looking forward to downstate.”
Brody Murray picked up the final win for the Saints. He pinned York’s Danny Cristofaro at 1:13 in the 175 match.
“It was pretty smooth sailing meet for me,” said Murray, who won all three of his matches by falls to improve to 41-8.
“I feel like I was mentally there. I stayed consistent and didn't let anything get to me.”
The Saints did suffer two losses later in the meet.
DeKalb’s Jacob Luce beat Anthony Gutierrez 4-2 in the 165 title match. Elgin’s Fabian Ramirez beat Cooper Murray 9-5 at 190.
Other winners included Wheaton North’s Thomas Fulton who beat Geneva’s Peyton Marzano 3-2 for the 157 title.