Huntley shines at sectional, sends eight to state
It was a red letter day for the Red Raiders from Huntley.
The FVC and regional champions broke their program record of seven state qualifiers with a sensational effort from eight of their men, including David Ferrante, who left little doubt as to who will be the top seed at 170 pounds next weekend at the Class 3A state tournament.
"I point to our nonconference schedule as to why this group of guys did so well over these two days, and why we advanced so many to state," said coach BJ Bertelsman.
Bertelsman would watch the middle of his lineup separate themselves from the rest of its rivals, beginning with Sam Spencer (126, 39-4) and Andrew Lira (132, 31-12). Both finished second.
Afterward, it was Jeremy Jakowitsch (138, 30-14) and Joaquin Miranda (145, 30-14) who booked their first state trip, before Gannon Kosowski (34-10) nearly upset the No. 4 rated 152-pounder, Jacob Reicin (42-3) of Deerfield, in his final.
The Huntley corner felt that Kosowski recorded a takedown near the edge during the first overtime period only to see it waved off, before trying to figure out why Kosowski was hit with a quick stall and one-point penalty in what would be a 3-1 tiebreaker overtime final.
Ferrante, No. 1 in the state, finished off Jordan Chisum with a knockout, a first period punch that included a quartet of three-point near falls en route to a technical fall at 2:27.
"What I am most happy and proud of is the effort our team put forth over these two days, especially our first time state qualifiers," said the Red Raiders junior, now 41-2 on the season.
Jakowitsch advanced in dramatic fashion from his state qualifying bout against Jaylen Beals (Zion-Benton, 31-6) with a big-time throw in the second overtime in what would be a 5-2 victory.
"I never throw, but I was in an over-under, and had (Beals) locked up, and I figured why not go for it," said Jakowitsch.
Jacobs is sending three to Champaign next week: Jake Harrier (132, 40-2) for the third time, Jake Ridle (145, 35-8) now twice, and first timer Justin Peters (34-14) at 120, all of whom came back through the consolation bracket to advance.
Ridle avenged a major decision loss to Kai Conway (Barrington) in his regional final a week ago with a hard fought 7-6 decision, while Harrier came back from a defeat to No. 2 Danny Pucino (Libertyville, 41-1) to get back downstate.
"I could have wrestled better in my semifinal with Danny, but I just didn't. But after that I felt like I came back strong to qualify," said Harrier, who tore through two opponents with major decision wins to insure a third place medal.
Harrier, whose only two losses on the season are to Pucino, was fifth a year ago in Champaign.
His teammate Peters overcame a slow start to fight his way back with three victories in wrestle-backs to claim fourth place overall.
"My first match on Friday was not very good, so my focus was to take one opponent at a time, and to just continue to win each one," said the senior, who pinned Zach Joyce of Hersey at 3:01 in his qualifying match.
Charlie Gruen (37-10) was down but never out at 132 pounds, and for the second straight tournament, the Cary-Grove junior navigated his way into another weekend of wrestling.
Third last week at the Dundee-Crown regional, Gruen overcame a rough ride in his semifinal match with the aforementioned Lira by pinning Carson Olofson (Rockford East) to move on.
The Trojans star was a sectional qualifier in 2018, with a 22-13 overall record.