Huntley a dominant Fox Valley Conference champ
Huntley is the wrestling king of the Fox Valley Conference, lifting the trophy for the second consecutive time after cruising past Class 2A power Crystal Lake Central 59-9 Thursday night before a raucous Senior Night audience in Huntley.
The Red Raiders (22-3-0, 8-0-0) trailed only once when No. 3 Seamus O'Donnell (14-0) opened the night with a hard-fought 9-3 victory over Justin Allen at 195 pounds before the home side scored the next 56 points to overwhelm the Tigers, who fell to 19-5-0 overall.
"It was a great night for Huntley, the seniors, and the crowd who came here to support a team which has worked hard to earn this conference title, and now wants to win more beginning next week at regionals," said Raiders coach BJ Bertelsman, whose club now prepares for the Class 3A DeKalb regional next Saturday.
"We had a great dual with BJ last year but tonight we came in here already fighting injuries, sickness and ringworm, while giving away three forfeits and to compound all of that we wrestled poorly against a very good team that made us pay for the way we competed," said Central head coach Justen Lehr of his No. 2 rated Tigers.
"They'll hear about it tomorrow when we get back in the room, then we'll get back to work, and hopefully ready for regionals," added Lehr, who will have Liam O'Donnell (29-6) the No. 5 rated 182-pounder, back from regionals after sitting this one out.
The Red Raiders came out swinging following the O'Donnell victory, much to the delight of the Huntley faithful which would cheer a pin from Nik Wise at 220, as well as a well-played 6-2 decision from heavyweight Matt Burba, whose hard two-minute ride of Wyatt Blake led to a trio of penalty points when the Tigers' big man was hit for stalling on three separate occasions.
"Allen wrestled great against Seamus, but he wasn't able to win the 50-50 battles which Seamus did with a takedown each time," began Bertelsman. "But Wise and Burba came through in a big way, and once we got rolling, we didn't stop until right up to the end."
Sammy Spencer (113, 37-4) made it 21-3 with a pin, which was followed by a decision from Jeremy Jackowtich (120) and four consecutive bonus point victories by Andrew Lira (126), Zach Spencer (132, 38-5), Gannon Kosowski (138, 31-11) and Luke Loprieno (28-13) to increase the advantage to 44-3.
"Gannon's pin (1:01) was big, especially for him as it helps with regional seeding next week," admitted Bertelsman.
The Tigers were without two of their starters at 152 and 160, and would concede forfeits at both weights, which led to the final victory on the night for the eventual champs, which came from senior Juan Quiroz (170) who won his 37th of the season following a 5-1 victory.
After a low-key celebration after accepting their FVC championship trophy several of the Huntley seniors joined in on a group interview, with all nodding in agreement with Zach Spencer and Loprieno when each said:
"It's great to win a second straight title, but there's a lot more ahead for all of us, including a run at a regional title, then coming back after the state tournament to compete and win our dual-team sectional here at home then going downstate for the first time."
Alongside their teammates Spencer and Loprieno were Jimmy Pellegrino and Justin Allen.