Barrington's Rasmussen falls in state final
CHAMPAIGN -- The remarkable rise in just one season where Luke Rasmussen reached the zenith of the 170-pound weight division culminated when the Barrington senior faced off against Huntley's David Ferrante in the 170-pound state wrestling final Saturday night at State Farm Center.
Rasmussen, who took over the No. 1 spot in the state polls following his thrilling 5-2 victory last weekend over then No. 1 Ferrante hoped to catch lightning in the bottle one last time.
Rasmussen got off to a bright start with a superb double to take an early lead but Ferrante (46-2) would take a lead he would never relinquish with a power lift move with Rasmussen (44-1) in the down position, throwing the Broncos' top man to the mat to go ahead 3-2.
From that point in the second period forward, the strength of Ferrante and one more lift and throw later on would give the Northwestern-bound Huntley senior his second consecutive state title.
"Ferrante is so strong, such an outstanding competitor and just a tough man to beat two weeks in a row," said Barrington coach Dave Udchik just after the 8-2 final.
"I'm disappointed for myself and our program with this loss. I got that early double to take the lead, but I did not keep up the pace and pressure tonight," admitted Rasmussen, who showed great class despite the heartbreaking defeat.
"I could have wrestled better last week in my final with (Rasmussen) so we stepped up the work leading up to this weekend, and it paid off," said Ferrante.
Friday night may have not gone the way fans of the dynamic duo from Prospect, Will Baysingar (106) and Jack Milos (132, 46-2), wanted it to, however both would bounce back to bring home state medals when the Class 3A state tournament came to an end.
Baysingar (47-1) would break the program record for wins in a season after his 6-3 decision gave the Knights' freshman third place overall, while Milos, fifth at 132, would tie the old record of 46 set by 2009 state champion Matt Boggess.
"You always feel like you could have done something differently after each match you wrestle. That's the way I felt when I lost my semifinal but you have to put those results behind you as quick as you can in order to get your mind straight in order to get back at it again," said Baysingar.
There's no question Evan Roper was the biggest surprise at 220 after the Barrington junior came back from a 3-2 loss in the semifinals to earn a well-deserved third-place trophy.
"The great thing about (Roper) is he's so new to the sport that he didn't even know where to look to see when he was ranked No. 1 in the state polls after beating Ben Stemmet (Yorkville) early in the season," said Udchik.
Roper would eventually fall from his perch atop his weight class when he lost four straight to No. 1 Gio Jackson (Buffalo Grove) but the Broncos' big man would come back to finally defeat Jackson in wrestlebacks, then Stemmet for the second time here to earn his third-place medal.
Barrington's Kai Conway (45-5), a four-year veteran and two-time state qualifier, went out with a flurry after earning a fourth-place medal in a high profile weight class at 160.
"Kai has been as steady as they come," said Udchik of Conway, who made his first appearance here two years ago as a sophomore.
Jackson (41-3) fought off the flu bug that sapped his energy during his quarterfinal loss to Drew Gutknecht (Minooka) to finish fifth overall, giving the Bison their first state medal since 2012 when Jordan Rathje was fifth at 145.
"We came here hoping for more but we're all proud of the way Gio rebounded from Friday to get himself a state medal, something he really deserved," said BG head coach Kurt Kutska.
"After going 0-2 here at state last year, it feels real good right now to go home with a state medal," said Jackson, who would avenge his loss to Gutknecht in his match for fifth place.
Fremd senior Isiah Pettigrew will bring home a fourth place medal and the 26th in program history after a superb three-day performance for the 195 pounder.
"It's been a great season for Isiah, whose hard work and dedication to improving was rewarded with his medal," said Fremd head coach Jeff Keske of Pettigrew, who advanced into the semifinal round only to lose to No. 1 Nick Stemmet (Yorkville), who went on to win it all.