Scouting this weekend's sectionals / Northwest
The best time of the season has arrived and at three sectional venues, area wrestlers will compete for a top-four finish in order to ensure their spot in the state tournament field. Here's a glance at what's in store this weekend for wrestlers from the Northwest suburbs.
Class 2A at Deerfield
When: Friday, 4:30 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m., finals at 3 p.m.
Lowdown: Antioch, Deerfield, Fenton and Marian Central Catholic were the class of the four regional locations that feed into this venue so with that settled, its time for several wrestlers from the Northwest suburbs to concentrate on getting downstate next weekend.
Wheeling advanced six into this sectional, while St. Viator is sending five, including a trio of regional champions -- Gaetano Console (152), Nick Demunno (182, 31-9) and Ryan McGuire at 220.
Console (28-11) has No. 7 Daniel Ramirez of Fenton (25-5) and No. 8 Shane Moran (Crystal Lake South, 21-3) in front of him, while the senior Demunno and others in his division will chase a high profile bunch that includes No. 1 Adrien Cramer (Grayslake Central, 32-1), plus Nico Lopez (Marian Central Catholic, 34-3), Tommy Evans (Prairie Ridge, 30-3), and Isaac Rands (Cary-Grove, 22-8) all in the Top Ten.
McGuire (24-9), back for his second consecutive sectional appearance, will take on the likes of Top Ten wrestlers Joey Swanson (Cary-Grove, 27-10 and Josh Crandall (18-2) of Prairie Ridge.
Class 3A at Barrington
When: Friday, 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.; finals at 2:30 p.m.
Lowdown: There are weight divisions here that shine brighter than many others when compared to the other three sectional venues across the state -- perhaps none more brilliant than what is found at 138 and 220, where the top three in the state will compete at Barrington.
Joel Vandervere (Warren, 26-1), Danny Pucino (Libertyville, 32-3), and Jake Harrier (Jacobs, 36-1) are the best in the state at 138, while Ryan Golnick (Jacobs, 34-3), Gio Jackson (Buffalo Grove, 34-1) and Evan Roper (Barrington, 27-4) hold down the top three spots at 220.
They have all wrestled each other at some point this season in both divisions, with Jackson holding a 3-0 edge on Roper with each meeting close and thrilling.
There's plenty of depth after the top three, which makes for an interesting second day of action in wrestlebacks.
Other weights to watch include 170 David Ferrante (Huntley, 39-1) and Luke Rasmussen (38-0) from Barrington. What else is there to say? From the very start of the season, these two have been No. 1 and 2, but unfortunately, they will meet in the semifinals on Saturday morning.
At 285 Hersey senior Austin Korba (31-3) was one victory short of going downstate last season, but the Huskies' big man appears poised to make sure of his first trip to Champaign and with a sectional title to bring along.
Not to be overlooked are two other top rated wrestlers, Prospect freshman Will Baysingar (40-0) and Libertyville senior E'lan Heard (23-1), both of whom are also nationally ranked.
Class 3A at Conant
When: Friday, 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m., finals at 1 p.m.
Lowdown: The addition of No. 1 Montini Catholic instantly makes this sectional one to watch for its high profile stars alone. The No. 4 team in the nation collected an astounding 12 individual titles at the Willowbrook regional last weekend, two of which came from Dylan Ragusin (126, 34-3) and Fidel Mayora (145, 36-4), both nationally ranked and on their way to Michigan next fall.
From the Mid-Suburban League, Conant coach Chad Hay celebrated seven advancing Cougars including Jack Hominac (170, 28-5) and Russell Hoeft (120, 28-8), who lead the club in victories, while at Schaumburg, Hay's brother-in-law, Mike Levanti brings four of his wrestlers to this sectional, two who won regional titles last weekend.
"Grant Hansen (145, 29-9) and Franco Fotelo (220, 17-4) are wrestling very well right now, and I am confident each will put themselves in position to book rooms in Champaign," said Levanti.
Five from the Northwest suburbs will receive a bye in the first round courtesy of their respective regional championships.
Daniel Uribe (Leyden, 138, 31-3) is now a three-time sectional qualifier, Noah Beltran (126) and Aidan Hansen (132) from Maine South, now twice, Cemtral Suburban League rivals Rahil Sadruddin (170, 25-12) and his teammate at Maine West, Jack Roback (182, 23-14) are here, as are two other regional champs Angel Villegas (145, 14-2) and Baltazar Cabrales (152-, 26-8) of Maine East.
Beltran is in the deepest class here (126), led by Ragusin and including Tuvshin Zuunbayan (24-2), the junior from Elk Grove.
The 145-pound bracket sets up perfectly for fans with No. 4 Mayora on the opposite side of No. 4 Mikey Caliendo (34-1), the junior from Batavia.