Naperville Central ends Marmion's streak
Angelo Eklou made a defining statement in a highly symbolic championship wrestling match on Saturday afternoon in Aurora.
A Naperville Central senior 220-pounder, Eklou beat the first-period buzzer by 11 seconds in claiming a second fall of the day against Marmion senior Brandon Bryan.
One of many one-sided finals matches at the Class 3A Marmion regional, Eklou was one of 12 Naperville Central athletes to advance to the individual sectional at Hinsdale Central next Saturday.
In the process the Redhawks decisively ended the host Cadets' seven-year regional winning streak with a 214-173.5 victory.
With its first postseason title in eight years, Naperville Central (22-4) will face second-ranked Mt. Carmel (9-1) at the Sandburg team sectional the final Tuesday of the month.
"It definitely means a lot," Eklou said of the team championship. "We showed how bad we wanted it. I constantly stayed on (Bryan) and used my moves."
The Redhawks' Tyler Driessens remained undefeated against in-state competition. The 120-pounder was untested in improving to 39-1 with three first-period falls.
"Overall, it's a little bit of both," Driessens said of being both an individual champion and a member of the victorious team. "We knew already that if we qualified all 14 (wrestlers), we would get the team title."
The Redhawks' final champion was Ryan Silva. The senior downed Naperville North junior Nico Takano 4-2 in a rematch of their DuPage Valley Conference title showdown.
"We don't really talk about other teams," said Naperville Central coach Noah Fitzenreider, who turned the tables on his older brother Nathan, the Marmiion coach, with 12 sectional advancers. "The goal was to get as many kids to the sectional as possible."
"We got beat by a good Naperville Central team," Nathan Fitzenreider said. "Not having a heavyweight hurt. It's nice to see those kids have some success (at Naperville Central). I used to coach many of them."
Fifth-place Wheaton Warrenville South crowned back-to-back champions with Aidan Waszak and Josh Dorr winning by a second-period fall and 8-6 decision, respectively, at 126 and 132 pounds.
"It was just believing in myself," Dorr said of his narrow win over fellow 30-match winner Elrin Esporlas of Naperville Central. "I knew I could get to my offense."
Seventh-place Waubonsie Valley did not have the depth of its rivals, but the Warriors crowned a pair of champions in Antonio Torres, ranked third at 170 pounds, and heavyweight Charlie Millington.
Torres is 31-3 after surviving a 3-1 tactical battle with Naperville Central DVC champion Shane Roth.
Torres missed the DVC tournament with an ankle injury.
"I knew I had to come in with a different game plan," Torres said. "(Roth and I) have very similar wrestling styles."
Millington, the Warriors' only returning state qualifier, is 33-6 after a championship fall at 285.
Metea Valley 182-pounder senior Sean Burke had a reversal and 2-point near fall in the last seven seconds to deny East Aurora 34-match winner Latron Cannon 10-6.
Naperville North was fourth with 125.5 points as the Huskies had the third-most qualifiers with seven.
Marmion had never lost a Class 3A regional since being elevated to the highest class in 2013.
The Cadets did have a major-consolation prize, however, with the most champions, four, of any program.
Marmion lost 10 starters to graduation, but Diego Sotelo is the defending state champion.
Sotelo is the consensus top-ranked 113-pounder after winning his state title at 106 last year.
Sotelo advanced with a default in his finals match.
One weight earlier, the Cadets' Jameson Garcia won his 30th match of the season with a technical fall in the finals at 106.
Jacob Tinajero and Walter Green captured the Cadets' third and fourth titles in consecutive fashion with a first- and third-period fall at 138 and 145 pounds.
Tinajero missed virtually his entire junior campaign with a knee injury after qualifying for state as a sophomore.
Tinajero stopped WW South senior Andrew Janiec 51 seconds into his championship match.
"This year I just have my mind on one goal -- to win state," Tinajero said. "I have just been doing the right things, like dieting. I would say I am very explosive."
Green stunned Naperville Central top seed Ayden Lutes 20 seconds into the third period.
"I was just doing the same things I did in practice," Green said. "My coaches tell me I have what it takes. I just have to believe in myself."
The Cadets' Tegan Chumbley (120), Tyler Perry (126), Jaden Morga (152) and Charlie O'Connor all had to win third-place matches to advance to Hinsdale Central.
West Aurora was third with 127.5 points.
Dzhabrail Khurshidov is a legitimate state-title contender for the Blackhawks by steamrolling his two foes at 195 pounds.
The lone returning state qualifier for West Aurora, Khurshidov spent the bulk of the regular season at 220.
"I was just thinking through my moves," Khurshidov said of his two first-round pins. "I still have a lot to prove. I have to work at it every day."
The Blackhawks' Andrew Tijerina and Jordan Lishman earned automatic berths to Hinsdale Central by advancing to the finals at 120 and heavyweight.
Jaycee Gonzalez was the only undefeated wrestler at the tournament. The East Aurora senior, a member of the Aurora Christian Class 1A state-championship team two years ago, extended his season-long winning streak to 30 matches with his 10-4 triumph at 160 pounds.