Sandburg sets the standard at Wheeling's quad
With the No. 2-ranked Class 3A wrestling team in the gymnasium, everybody knew they would have to be at the top of their game Saturday at the Wheeling triple-dual meet.
But No. 10-ranked Stevenson, the No. 21-ranked host Wildcats, and No. 6 ranked Class 2A squad Marian Catholic didn't have much success against the Eagles as the meet turned out to be a real wrestling clinic by Sandburg.
The Eagles (13-0) opened the day with a more than impressive 59-4 victory over Stevenson (10-1) before rolling to a 58-16 win over the Spartans (3-3) in the second round. Wheeling (15-3) started off the day strong with a 47-28 nonconference victory over Marian Catholic.
Starting at 160 pounds, the Patriots got back on the winning track in the second round as they toppled Wheeling (15-3) by a final score of 36-23. Then in the last round Stevenson added a 45-28 victory over Marian Catholic while Sandburg was handing the Wildcats a 66-6 loss.
Against the Eagles, No. 2-ranked Stevenson 152-pound junior Dylan Geick was the Pats' only winner with a 12-2 major decision giving his team their only points in that meet.
But even the previously undefeated Geick (14-1) was unable to escape the minefield of tough competition unscathed Saturday as he dropped a tough 8-7 decision to No. 1-ranked Class 2A standout Jose Champagne. Geick moved up a weight class from 152 to 160 for that match.
Geick fought back valiantly from a 6-2 deficit against Champagne after one period, but he ultimately ran out of time to make the entire comeback a reality.
"We were encouraged that he (Geick) realized he was not out of the fight (against Champagne). He came back and battled, and he came up a little short," said Stevenson coach Shane Cook, whose team went 2-1 on the day. "Sandburg is ranked ninth in the country and we understand that they have a top kid at every weight class. But we have a growth mindset when we wrestle those teams so even in those matches we're looking to improve."
Besides Geick going 2-1 on the day, the Patriots also got 2-1 records from 132-pounder Eric Carter, 170-pounder Robert Pavlovics, 182-pounder Nikita Nepomnyashchiy, 195-pounder Michael Kordek, and 285-pounder Nick Grujanac.
"We're pleased to go 2-1 against this competition, but we understand we have a long way to go to get ready for the conference meet and the state series," added Cook.
With Wheeling's Memorial Wrestling Tournament not being held this year for the first time in many years, Wildcats coach Neal Weiner decided to take the opportunity to put together a really powerful quad of teams for Saturday's competition.
"We rescheduled this meet because I wanted to get tougher competition and Sandburg is one of the best teams in the nation, not just the state," said Weiner, whose team went 1-2 on the day. "Sandburg has won three state championships in the last six years and wrestling them is really good for our program."
The Wildcats got 2-1 records from 138-pounder Tristan Guaman, 145-pounder Andrew Lara, and 220-pounder Yoni Medina. Wheeling 160-pounder Jaylan Shaw spoiled Sandburg's bid for a shutout when he pinned his opponent in the third period to end the meet.
The Eagles have eight individuals ranked in the top nine in their weight class, including top-ranked 126-pounder Rudy Yates (13-0), and top-ranked 182-pounder Patrick Brucki (13-0).
Sandburg also has perfect 13-0 marks for Louie Hayes at 103, Kevin Stearns at 120, Christian Robertson at 145, Ben Schneider at 160, and Brian Krasowski at 170.
"I think we have great leaders with our seniors and returning starters, and it makes our job pretty easy as coaches," said Sandburg coach Eric Siebert. "Us, Oak Park (ranked seventh), and Marmion (ranked 11th) are ranked in the top 11 in the country, and it's great to compete in a state where the competition is so good."