Huntley dumps Libertyville to punch state ticket
Huntley ran out to a 33-6 advantage over Libertyville before going on to a 57-15 victory Tuesday night in Northbrook to win its dual-team sectional at Glenbrook North to advance into the Class 3A state tournament for the second time in three seasons.
Next up for the 15th-ranked Red Raiders (19-7-0) will be No. 9 Barrington, which defeated No. 16 Prospect to move into the state quarterfinals Saturday in Bloomington at Grossinger Motors Arena.
"It's great to be going to state to extend our season one last week. This time we want to come back with a state trophy," said Huntley senior Sam Spencer (39-5), who claimed his second fifth-place state medal last weekend in Champaign and is a four-time state qualifier as well.
"It's been a great four years for me at Huntley and one that I'll have a lot of great memories to keep with me. Now if we can beat Barrington in our quarterfinal we'll be guaranteed the first team trophy in program history."
Huntley made its first state appearance in 2018.
For No. 13 Libertyville (19-4-0) it was a tough night for the Wildcats' faithful who, without one of the best in the state -- Danny Pucino, who was out with a concussion -- found out earlier in the day they would also be missing E'lan Heard (152, 29-3), fifth at state, as well as sophomore state qualifier Caelan Riley (106, 41-7) for this important contest.
"Huntley is a very good team, so to be missing Danny already then the other two guys really put us up against it," said Wildcats coach Dale Eggert.
Pins from Ryder Hunkins (195 pounds), Matt Burba (285), Zackary Rogala (106) and Rafael Sobrepena at 113 set the tone for the Red Raiders and when Jacob Jensen (29-12) and Sam Henkle followed with a major and tech-fall at 120 and 126, it was all but over for Libertyville.
Chase Baczek (182) and Jordan Smith (220) would add 12 points to the Libertyville score line with their respective pins while teammates Michael Rocco (132) and Josh Knudten would chip in with victories to help the cause.
"It was tough seeing Dale's team come into tonight short-handed -- it was something we kind of went through last season at our dual-team sectional," said Huntley head coach BJ Bertelsman.
"This is always a difficult way to finish the season -- it's anticlimactic after three great days of wrestling at the individual state tournament. I hope the IHSA can come up with a better way to decide the team championship than the system that we have now."
Huntley's David Ferrante (47-2), who won his second consecutive state title last weekend, fittingly finished off Tuesday's contest with a win at 182.