Scouting dual team sectionals
After a scintillating final session Saturday night at the state individual tournament in Champaign, the shift is back to team wrestling style with dual-team sectionals all around the area on Tuesday.
There's a split as to whether the season should end in Champaign, and not in Bloomington where the state duals take place -- and why not?
Three days of play in Champaign are emotionally and physically draining for all those who compete, so to get back on the proverbial horse one more week is asking a lot.
That, and the fact coaching staffs must do their best to keep their athletes in shape, and on or near weight during the off week. Some clubs will bring their guys downstate to train, others will stay back to conduct regular training sessions.
Nonetheless, here's a quick look at the who, what and where for dual team sectionals Tuesday night, with an eye on booking a trip inside Grossinger Motors Arena in Bloomington this Saturday.
Class 3A at DeKalb
Glenbard North (22-4-0) vs. Oak Park-River Forest (20-3-0)Advancement: Winner advances into the Class 3A dual-team state quarterfinals to face either Lockport or Plainfield South.
Lowdown: The Panthers have the two-time state champion, and nationally ranked Abe Assad (182, 45-1) to lead their lineup, which includes three other state qualifiers as well. What N0. 9 North also has is plenty of history at this tournament with 16 trips to state under longtime head coach Mark Hahn. OP-RF cannot match the numbers of its opponent Tuesday, but what the No. 2 Huskies do have are three consecutive state titles during a run from 2014-2016.
Class 3A At McHenry
Huntley (22-8-0) vs. Prospect (17-8-0)Advancement: Winner advances into Class 3A dual-team state quarterfinals to face either Marmion Academy or Mt. Carmel.
Lowdown: No. 10 Huntley enjoyed a program record eight state qualifiers last week, with David Ferrante (45-2), who was never challenged on his way to the 170-pound crown. The Red Raiders are looking to get back to Bloomington for a second straight time, and with six of their eight qualifiers back next year, the Fox Valley Conference champs are likely in line to do so. The Mid-Suburban East champion Knights advanced 10 into sectionals, but only three (Andrew Baysingar, 138), Joe Caringella (170) and Jose Ramos (285) came out. You can bet all those who missed out would like nothing more than to bounce back Tuesday to help their club reach the final eight for the third time since 2015.
Barrington (23-3-0) vs. Libertyville (19-3-0)Advancement: Winner advances into Class 3A dual-team state quarterfinals to face either Montini Catholic or Sandburg.
Lowdown: This dual is too close to call, and will likely be one that comes down to the last match or two, or where the coin flip calls the weight to begin at. Dale Eggert is one of the finest coaches there is, so he will have his Wildcats prepped and ready to go, while Dave Udchik, himself an exceptional coach, has built a terrific program at Barrington with his fine staff. The 'Cats are led by two place winners -- state runner-up Danny Pucino (132, 44-2) and Michael Gunther (138, 43-4), while the Broncos have Luke Rasmussen (160, 43-5) and Dayven Shinhoster (195, 33-4) leading the way.
Class 3A at Sandburg
Marmion Academy (18-2-0) vs. Mt. Carmel (15-2-0).Advancement: Winner advances into 3A dual-team state quarterfinals to face either Huntley or Prospect.
Lowdown: When you do not seed sectional champions after regional titles are decided, this is what you get before the state finals -- the chance to see one of the top teams sent home too early. These were two of the heavy hitters all season long, with Mt. Carmel drawing first blood on December 15, when the Cadets' lineup was still not complete. But make no mistake, the No. 3 Caravan have a first-rate group of starters, eight of whom were state qualifiers, led by state champ Colton Drousias (35-4) at 113 pounds. Trevor Chumbley (145, 41-2) won his second straight title for Marmion, Diego Sotelo (106, 45-3) his first, with Michael Jaffe, Nathan Callaway and Brad Gross each a state medal winner.
Class 2A at Wauconda
Antioch (17-5-0) vs. Marian Central Catholic (21-0-0)Advancement: Winner advances into 2A dual-team state quarterfinals to face either Olney or Chatham-Glenwood.
Lowdown: No. 9 Antioch has its hands full with the No. 2 Hurricanes, but that doesn't mean coach Wilbur Borrero's team has no chance to advance for the fifth time in program history. The Sequoits have quality all throughout their lineup, and have shown they can beat some of the best in 3A, witnessed by victories over St. Charles East and Maine South during the regular season. Four of the seven who went downstate came home with a state medal -- Alex Barbarise (120), Danny McPherson (126), Elijah Reyes (132) and Michael Volkmar (160) with two others close. MCC has a two-time state champion in Dylan Connell (160, 46-2) leading the way, and seven other state qualifiers in its lineup, two of whom medaled -- Elon Rodriguez (113) and Danny Valeria at 132.
Class 1A at Newman Central Catholic
Aurora Christian (7-7-0) vs. Stillman ValleyAdvancement: Winner advances into 1A dual-team state quarterfinals to face either Peotone or Chicago Hope.
Lowdown: Jared VanFleet gave Stillman Valley an incredible 22nd state title a year ago in Champaign for this wrestling-rich program, but this year, the Caridinals qualified just one wrestler, who was not close to adding to another medal to the collection. Aurora Christian, in its short three-year wrestling existence, already has 15 qualifiers plus a 1A team championship last season when it mowed down three of its opponents. Noah Villarreal (43-4) dominated at 132 to claim his second straight title, sophomore Joel Mylin (106, 43-5) and Zeke Marshall (138, 23-5) earned a third medal in as many years. Cameron Johnson (126, 33-7) was poised to win his third straight, until the junior suffered a serious shoulder injury in his final. Senior Nate Orosco (42-8) came over from Kaneland to finish his prep career, and went out in style with a fourth-place medal at 120.