Prospect battles, but falls to Marmion
BLOOMINGTON -- Prospect's Andrew Baysinger sensed an upset on Saturday morning.
The senior entered the final period of his Class 3A dual-team state meet match against Marmion's Ryan Fleck in the 138-pound weight class with a slim advantage.
Fleck, who won the Chicago Catholic League crown earlier this season, was motivated to end his prep career on a high note after a frustrating loss to St. Charles East's Justin Benjamin in the 138 final at the state individual meet on Feb. 16.
"Ryan's a great wrestler, but I felt like I was doing good because I was winning going into the third (period)," Baysinger said. "It got me excited because I wasn't able to place at state this year."
To his credit, Fleck bounced back in the third period to pull out a 3-2 win over Baysinger. The Cadets defeated the Knights 44-21 in Saturday's state quarterfinal at Grossinger Arena.
Joe Caringella (160), Chris Jurek (170), William Mikes (182) and Jose Ramos (285) were the winners for the Knights.
Baysinger has battled numerous injuries throughout his career. A two-time state qualifier, Baysinger missed two months this season with a torn meniscus. But he never doubted his ability to bounce back and wrestle this season.
"I was always coming back, definitely going to finish the season," Baysinger said.
Although disappointed with missing out on a signature victory, Baysinger reflected on his long road in wrestling. He started wrestling in kindergarten because his parents recognized "he was energetic and needed a hard sport to put him in."
"I feel like I could've won it," he said. "I think I stopped moving and was guessing at the end. It was partially since I was out most of the season. With everything that I've been through and all the injuries, I love that I was able to make it to state. At least I won a match at state, and I was happy about that."
Prospect coach Tom Whalen said Baysinger (16-6) showed tremendous character and dedication throughout his career battling injuries.
"He's wrestled for the team so many times hurt," Whalen said. "He has knee surgery and then takes a guy who was in the state final to the limit here. He's always been talented, but had some back luck."
Caringella, a senior, pinned Marmion's Christian Garcia to end an eight-match losing skid for the Knights that started at 106 pounds.
"I wanted to wrestle hard," Caringella said. "They have a stacked lineup. We were taking loss after loss."
After Jurek claimed a forfeit victory, Mikes pulled out a 6-2 win over Charlie O'Connor. Mikes, a senior, said he was motivated for a big effort.
"I didn't qualify for individual state and that was a big goal of mine, so that was disappointing," he said. "Coming here and competing with the team was like a second chance, so I just wanted to compete hard."
Ramos also gained a forfeit win to finish out his career. Ramos, a four-year varsity wrestler, won a regional title and placed third at sectionals to advance to the individual state meet last weekend.
"The last two weekends have been fun, but it wasn't the results I wanted," he said. "I'm going to now get ready for the next level."
With two giant fathead face cutouts of him in the stands, Whalen said the Knights took another step in becoming a consistent state power. It marked the program's third trip to state in the last five years.
"This isn't the way we wanted to end things, but Marmion is an excellent team," he said of the Cadets, who went on to finish third. "We knew that we had to wrestle our best match and have a bit of luck on the coin toss and then go from there."