Stars shine at Barrington sectional
One hundred sixty four victories, against one loss.
That is the combined overall record of Prospect's Will Baysingar and Jack Milos, Barrington's Luke Rasmussen and Buffalo Grove's Gio Jackson after each lifted championship trophies Saturday afternoon at the Barrington wrestling sectional.
The quartet was simply brilliant including Rasmussen who, as the No. 2 rated 170-pounder, would defeat No. 1 David Ferrante (Huntley, 46-3) -- much to the delight of a packed house that watched the Barrington senior record a 5-2 victory.
"It's an unbelievable feeling right now to beat an incredible opponent like David, who not only is a returning state champion, but also a fierce competitor, who also happens to be a great guy," said Rasmussen, who went on to beat Ricardo Salinas (Evanston) in his final.
Teammates Kai Conway (42-3) and Jack Hartman (37-5) would bookend the Rasmussen title by claiming top honors at 160 and 182, and their second trips downstate.
"It's amazing to win a sectional title in my senior year and in our home gym," said Conway, No. 7 in the current state polls.
"(Hartman) has been lights out for us during the last 7-8 weeks," said Barringtoncoach David Udchik after the junior beat Ethan Geist of Grant 3-1 in his final.
Broncos Charlie Jones (106, 28-13), Brian Beers (113, 37-8), and Evan Roper (220, 30-5) are on their way to Champaign, for Beers the second time.
Jackson would defeat Roper for the fourth time this season following his 7-6 triumph, decided once again by a late takedown to ensure victory for the Buffalo Grove senior, who likely will take over the top spot in the state polls after Roper beat No. 1 Ryan Golnick (Jacobs) in the semifinals.
"It feels good right now knowing this sectional title gives me a top four next week at state but there's still a lot of wrestling ahead of me to concentrate on," said Jackson, now 37-1.
Teammate Alejandro Mejia (27-5) is through at 152 after his impressive major decision victory in his state qualifying match, as are the Hersey duo of Zach Joyce (132, 27-12) and heavyweight Austin Korba (35-4), who came back through wrestlebacks to reach the state field.
"I was running out of time to get downstate," said a relieved Joyce.
Baysingar and Milos, both 43-0, continued to compete at another level than others following their brilliant efforts at 106 and 132, where the dynamic duo from Prospect allowed little to their tournament rivals.
Baysingar, No 1 in the state and No. 9 in the nation, validated both spots when he dominated his bracket ending with a fall at 1:45.
"This is where I pictured myself at the start of the year, but there's one more week in the season, and it's the most important week of the year," said Baysingar.
Milos was never in trouble over the two days, recording two falls in advance of his final, where he registered a technical fall over two-tme state qualifier, Andrew Lira of Huntley.
"It's still all about focusing on the next match for me and nothing else, and that's the way it will stay next week at state," said the No. 4 rated Milos.
Damien Puma (126, 26-120), Joe Miller (138, 34-15) and Caleb Smith (35-10), who lost in his final to Isiah Pettigrew (Fremd) at 195, all will make their first appearance downstate.
Pettigrew, stunned last weekend in his regional semifinal by eventual state qualifier Matt Millman (Stevenson) made his statement of intent during his sensational semifinal performance in which he overwhelmed No. 4 Cadence Hecox (25-1) to the tune of a 17-1 technical fall.
"Hecox is a know big-time thrower. He pins everyone but after the humbling experience a week ago at regionals, I got back to work, put together a solid game plan for this weekend and kept with it in order to beat him and to win my final," said Pettigrew (34-2), who was one victory short of going downstate a year ago.
Fremd senior Michael Mondus (160, 38-10) and sophomore Charlie Fifield (126, 39-3) would persevere through the dreaded wrestleback rounds to claim their first trip to Champaign.
Fifield would bounce back from a heartbreaking 9-7 loss in overtime to runner-up Antonio Alvarado (Belvidere, 37-4) in his semifinal with back-to-back 12-5 wins to ensure his visit downstate.