Montini wins five sectional titles
Some of the finest wrestlers in the state were on display Saturday afternoon at the Class 3A Bolingbrook individual sectional.
"Montini, Marmion, Mt. Carmel -- I could go on and on about all the good teams here," said Naperville Central 170-pound champion Jackson Punzel. "All the top schools are here. I have one goal in mind -- and God willing it will happen. That is to be a state champion."
It would be a safe bet that more than one Bolingbrook sectional champion will ascend to the top of the podium next weekend at the individual state finals at the University of Illinois in Champaign.
Trevor Chumbley is headed to Evanston next fall to continue wrestling at Northwestern. The Marmion 145-pounder defeated the No. 1-ranked wrestler in the nation over the holidays at Granite City.
Chumbley, who has not dropped a match to an Illinois athlete this season, will be a prohibitive favorite at state next weekend after improving to 37-2 with a hard-fought victory over Fidel Mayora of Montini on Saturday afternoon.
"I am trying to be a state champion again," Chumbley said. "But the ultimate goal is college."
Chumbley upended Mayora in the state-championship match a season ago.
Jake Stiles extended his season-long winning streak to 43 matches with his triumph at 152 pounds for Montini.
No other high school in the state has more state championships than Montini.
"I definitely liked the team winning it better," Stiles said of being a member of a reigning state champion. "You are going to see all the tough guys at state. We are going to get better at every match."
Marmion, with seven consecutive Class 3A regional championships, will give Montini a run for its money at the team state series in the coming weeks.
The Cadets' Diego Sotelo is the consensus favorite to win the state championship at 106 pounds after turning back Catholic League rival Nick Gonzalez of Montini by 8 points Saturday. Sotelo is 41-3 on the season as a former state finalist.
"It is a great feeling to win a sectional title," Sotelo said. "I want to feel the state championship next weekend."
Marmion also crowned champions at 120 and 138 pounds, Michael Jaffe and Ryan Fleck.
The Cadets' Brad Gross is also a returning state finalist; the senior will head to Illinois next weekend as the 160-pound sectional champion.
"It definitely motivates me a lot," Gross said of falling short in the state-championship match a year ago. "I want to be mentally and physically prepared. I got those first-time butterflies out of the way. I have been there before."
Montini had multiple champions at Bolingbrook.
Dylan Ragusin is 39-6 after a 9-4 victory in the finals at 126 pounds. Dylan Burnoski made it back-to-back Montini sectional champions with his win at 132 pounds.
The Broncos later had Trevor Swier and Peter Christensen duplicate the achievement with consecutive victories at 182 and 195 pounds, respectively.
Garrett St. Clair continued the Waubonsie Valley tendency of having an upper-weight sectional champion.
The senior, who began high school at Aurora Central Catholic, had a whitewash over Marmion senior Jack Bazukas to triumph at 220 pounds.
"We have a lot of luck with the upper-weight kids," Waubonsie Valley coach Brad Caldwell said. "We work hard and expect a lot of them. It's all on the kids."
"I knew it was going to be a close match going in, so I was glad I got the win," St. Clair said. "(Winning the sectional) means a lot to me, but my eyes are on state right now."
Punzel defeated St. Rita senior Jake Viloria in the finals at 170 pounds.
Montini's Christensen needed all of 12 seconds to win the 195-pound title.