Montini has a big day
The day clearly belonged to the Montini wrestling team. The Broncos took home 11 individual titles, advanced 13 wrestlers to next week's sectionals, scored 312 points and claimed the team title at the Class 3A Lyons Township regional in La Grange.
But the argument can be made that the moment of the day belonged to Sergio Villalobos of Downers Grove South.
Facing off with Montini's Peter Christensen in the 195-pound title bout, Christensen and Villalobos were tied at 7 with 18 seconds left in the match when Christensen seemed to grab an opportunity for a takedown.
"He got really deep in my leg and it was really hard to break his grip," Villalobos said.
What happened next turned the match around and got the crowd fully into the match. Villalobos reversed the take down, picking up 2 points and then picking up another 3 points to win the 195-pound bout 12-7.
"I tried to use my upper body to try and break his grip, but he ended up leaning a little far, so I just went for the throw and it ended up working out just fine," Villalobos said. "I'm not a huge thrower kind of guy. I was happy that I was able to execute that well and get the win."
It snapped Montini's streak of titles. The Broncos picked up titles in the first 11 weight classes, before Villalobos' win. Downers Grove South finished second with 171 points, Downers Grove North was fourth (111.5) and Hinsdale Central finished fifth (91).
"They're like the best team in the state," Villalobos said. "It's good, I'm not trying to be mean, but it's good to see one of them lose."
Nain Vazquez started it for the Broncos with a pin of Downers Grove South's Kuba Diggory in the 106-pound bout. Dylan Ragusin beat Nate Cummings of Downers Grove North in a 20-5 technical fall at 113.
Joey Melendez kept things rolling for Montini when he picked up a 10-1 major decision over Brad Rosen of Downers Grove North.
Melendez won his weight class on an injured ankle.
"I'll be 100 (percent) by sectionals," Melendez said. "I'm just trying to what I can to get there. It's a process."
Dylan Burnoski pinned Morton's Devin Del Toro Romo 21 seconds into the match to take the 126-pound bout.
Montini's Real Woods seemed to be cruising to the 132-pound title. Woods held a 13-0 advantage over Downers Grove South's Robert Major with 1:15 left in the match. Major, however, reversed a takedown and nearly pinned Woods.
"(Woods) was in the process of finishing a really nice takedown," Downers Grove South coach Sean Lovelace said. "Robert kept wrestling and ended up putting him on his back and it was close. You could've called a fall either way. It was exciting."
Fidel Mayora took the 138-pound crown for Montini, pinning Robert Ochoa of Morton at 1:22. The sophomore isn't satisfied with just the regional crown.
"It felt pretty good, but I'm more focused on making it down to state," Mayora said. "We don't look past who we have right now, but we do try to look towards to the future to what we want to do so we have more motivation to get there."
Montini coach Israel Martinez instills that in his team.
"It's business for all of us, it truly is," Martinez said. "It's more of an event where we continue to work on the things we're working on that we're going to use in two weeks down at the state tournament. That's where our boys are."
Jake Stiles (145 pounds), Will Lewan (152), Matt Ortiz (160), Anthony Geraci 170) and Trevor Swier (182) all picked up regional titles for the Broncos.
"Sometimes practice gets the best of you, someone might beat you," Melendez said. "But you know those bumps, those days, make you a better wrestler."
Downers Grove North added a pair of titles, too. Jim Flavin took the 220-pound title with a pin over Andres Lopez of Downers Grove South and Ethan Smith grabbed a 4-0 decision over Nick Newell of Downers Grove South in the 285-pound bout.
"Overall I'm pretty proud," Downers Grove North coach Chris McGrath said. "Obviously a great day for Ethan and Jimmy. We just didn't a couple of the close ones and we could've been in the top three as a team."
Hinsdale Central's Ron Kruse (132 pounds), Liam Drury (145), Luke Skokna (160), Lonnell Smith Jr. (182) and Downers Grove South's Matt Straus (120) also advanced to next week's sectional.
Montini's Mike McNicholas worked through wrestlebacks and also qualified for next week's sectional at 285.
"Got to give it to him," Martinez said. "Lost his first match, ended up winning three matches and (then) beating the guy who beat him in the first round. He battles hard and I'm proud of him."