Barrington downs Prospect to head to state again
Barrington wrestling coach Dave Udchik playfully calls Kai Conway, Luke Rasmussen and Jack Hartman his "Meat-Locker" -- and why not?
The Barrington trio is a combined 129-13 this season and were all state qualifiers with Rasmussen placing second and Conway fifth, and from 160-182 pounds, are a tactical and technical nightmare for opponents.
Tuesday night versus No. 16 Prospect the threesome collected 15 points to finish off the Knights (14-8-0) for good but on the other end of the Broncos' lineup, it was Jon Fier and Marko Hennin who provided key victories when the Mid-Suburban League champions needed them most.
No. 9 Barrington (24-2-0) is on its way to its third consecutive Class 3A dual-team state tournament this weekend following its 40-23 victory at the Glenbrook North dual-team sectional. The Broncos will face No. 15 Huntley (19-7-0), an easy winner over Libertyville, in the state quarterfinals Saturday in Bloomington.
"We knew we would be in for a tough battle with Prospect, which is so well coached by Tom (Whalen) and his staff, with a lineup that is always difficult to beat," said Udchik.
"We expect Kai, Ras and Jack to come through for us each time out but when things got real tight, it was Fiers getting a big decision for us at 138, and Marko getting the pin to set the table for our 'Meat-Locker' to finish things up."
Neither team was ever out of shouting distance up until the latter stages of this dual, Prospect taking the lead at the start on a win from state qualifier Caleb Smith (36-12) at 195 followed by a pin by Barrington's Evan Roper (220, 35-6), who was coming off a magnificent three days in Champaign where the junior ended up third overall.
A major decision from Broncos heavyweight Farouk Shaaban would be erased by a pin by Knights freshman Will Baysingar (48-1), who in his first state appearance collected a third place medal.
Back-and-forth it would go -- Barrington leading 16-9, before the Knights chased and caught their league rivals -- going ahead at 18-16 after a Joe Miller (35-17) decision at 132.
That's when Fier came through, using a six-point explosion in the third period to defeat Nathan Lopez 9-3.
Whalen would bump Jack Milos (47-2) from his spot at 132 (where he brought home a fifth place medal from state) to 145, and the junior looked as if he belonged there following his tech-fall just seconds from time to put the Knights ahead one last time at 23-19.
Hennin, on the injured list for nearly 10 weeks, made his mark on this contest with a pin at 3:03 at 152 to send the Broncos' faithful into orbit while giving his team a 25-23 advantage.
"The team expects Kai, Luke and myself to win, and get us bonus points in doing so, but tonight it was Fiers and Hennin who were the difference-makers," said Hartman.
"It's always hard to have your season end, but we were beaten by the better team, and that's how it goes sometimes," admitted Whalen. "I told the guys we'll say goodbye to a great group of seniors and that I expect those coming back to work harder than they've ever done before so we can get back here next year and not experience the same result we did as tonight."
Of the 14 in the Knights' starting lineup nine will return next season.