Glenbard East defends Newbill Invitational
Jesus Lopez summed up the collective feelings of the Glenbard East wrestling team as the awards ceremony wound down Saturday afternoon at the Newbill Invitational in Geneva.
"We champed out," the Rams' victorious 220-pounder said.
Lopez and fellow seniors Alex Posada, who checks in at 145 pounds, and 195-pounder Ben Pham all defended individual championships at the 20-team tournament.
Reese Martin, who had to settle for third last year, began the Rams' complete sweep in their four championship matches with a dominant first period in an 11-6 victory over Wheaton Warrenville South sophomore Aidan Waszak at 120 pounds.
Even more important, Glenbard East defended its team title with a convincing 176-152.5 victory over (Woodstock) Marian.
Addison Trail had three finalists, including a pair of champions, in placing third with 141 points.
WW South, fourth at 124, and West Aurora, fifth with 113.5 points, each had an athlete ascend to the top of podium.
Dundee-Crown edged the host Vikings by a point as the two teams finished out of the top 10.
"This is great, especially since we lost (our) dual with Marian Central," Lopez said.
The Tigers' Waszak was looking to even his season series with Martin after the latter won by pin in the schools' nonconference dual meet.
But Martin, a returning state qualifier, had a pair of takedowns and an equal number of near-falls in the opening period to score 9 of his 11 points in the match.
Posada is also a returning state qualifier for the Rams who is currently wrestling through a partially torn kneecap.
"I just try to do my best and to get back to where I was," said Posada, who defeated Stillman Valley junior Logan Lagerhausen 7-5 in the final. "I'm limited. We usually have two (dual) meets a week. I wrestle in one and take the other off."
Pham also had a second regular-season encounter as he literally reversed West Aurora sophomore Dzhabrail Khurshidov for a 4-3 victory.
Khurshidov had taken a 3-2 lead with his own reversal with 56 seconds remaining in the final period.
"I didn't think he had the reversal," Pham said of his Upstate Eight Conference rival. "I wasn't panicking. I knew I was in control."
"I was surprised the ref gave me the 2 points," Khurshidov said. "I didn't want to get hit with locked hands (a penalty), so I didn't have a good grip."
Addison Trail senior Guillermo Juarez kicked off the finals by claiming a second straight Newbill championship over Marian freshman Josh Glover.
The Blazers' senior prevailed in a 11-9 nail-biter.
"I have had a few bumps this season," said Jaurez, who had a technical fall and pin to reach the finals. "I have proved that I am still one of the best wrestlers in the state."
Patience is often a must in an invitational showdown.
Addison Trail sophomore Jake Matthews' 4-0 whitewashing of Marian junior Daniel Valeria was achieved with a second-period reversal and takedown in the third.
"I kept my composure," Matthews said. "I kept my pace. I thought he might be gassed. I have a pretty large gas tank to go through."
The Blazers' Nick Skamra fell in the 182-pound final.
WW South senior Dominic Duve emerged victorious at 126 pounds with the only offensive points of the final -- a pair of takedowns -- in his 5-3 win over Alton junior Garrett Sims.
"(The difference) was all about the mentality," Duve said. "It all comes down to practice. My coaches, teammates and parents (David and Heather) told me I had to believe in myself."
West Aurora is renowned for its multicultural student body.
Runner-up Khurshidov emigrated to Aurora from Russia.
But the Blackhawks' crowning achievement came from heavyweight Abbas Abdulkadhim.
Born in the war-ravaged Middle East to an Iraqi father and Iranian mother, Abdulkadhim had three falls and a 14-13 dogfight in claiming the lone West Aurora championship at 285 pounds.
Abdulkadhim needed barely more than 60 seconds to vanquish Champaign Centennial junior Lavell Fleming.
"This is the biggest thing I have ever won in wrestling," the Blackhawks' senior said. "It was just my mindset. (The takedown and pin move) was an overhook-underhook and then just a trip."
Dundee-Crown and Geneva were both short-handed in finishing in the No. 12 and tied for 13 slot.
The Chargers were paced by Colin Mayes and Carter Fitch with their fourth-place finishes at 152 and 195, respectively.
D-C junior Gabriel Scales' 32nd win on the year in the fifth-place match at 138 pounds leads the team.
Ian Heck and Hank Smith both won third-place matches for Geneva.
"I did better than I expected to do," said Smith, a 182-pound junior. "I am real happy with how I performed."
Huck prevailed for the major-consolation title at 120 pounds.