Montini advances to state; Glenbard North loses by 1
Wrestling fans enjoying the double feature at South Elgin High School on Tuesday night could have used a calculator.
For one match it was to count how many points Montini might score. For the other it was the plethora of possibilities as Glenbard North and DeKalb battled down the stretch in the Class 3A dual team sectional title bout.
And in the end Bradley Gillum already knew the math and got the Barbs the necessary 5 points with a third-period technical fall in the final match of the night.
"I found my inner Greco," said Gillum, referencing his late takedown to get his final points with 35 seconds to go. "Channeling what we do in the off-season, just had to dig deep for that one."
Gillum's win gave DeKalb a 31-30 win over Glenbard North, which had held a 27-12 advantage five matches earlier.
But the Barbs' best were last. Four of their five individual state medalists had yet to wrestle.
All four picked up victories. Tommy Curran got a pin at 132 pounds, Fabian Lopez recorded a 13-7 decision at 138 and Damien Lopez won by technical fall at 152 to set up Gillum with the match on the line.
Gillum, a 40-win sophomore who finished second at state the week prior, wasted no points racking up points.
"I just had to stick with the game plan and do what the coaches have always taught me," he said. "I knew he wouldn't wrestle hard but be passive to try to save some team points, so I had to get more aggressive."
The heartbreaking loss may have ended after the final match, but that's not where it was decided, according to Glenbard North coach Mark Hahn.
There were other matches along the way in which he believes the Panthers could have picked up more points. One that sticks out was a tight battle at 220 pounds, when DeKalb's Bryan Mora pulled off a reversal with 15 seconds to go to take a 3-2 decision.
"We needed to get it done before (the final match)," Hahn said. "We needed to win at 195 or 220, one of those two. We knew that. We had guys come through with pins and do some great things ... but it's over if we get a win at 220."
The Panthers got pins from Alonzo Smiley (182 pounds), Jimmy Marre (113) and Ronan Schuelke (120) and wins from Nathan Anagnostopolous (170), Paulie Roberson (285), Nolan Allen (126) and Ani Zaimi (145).
DeKalb got other wins from Bryson Buhk (195 pounds) and Ben Aranda (pin; 106), and the Barbs move on to the state quarterfinals to wrestle Sandburg, a 37-27 winner over Oak Park-River Forest on Tuesday night.
On the other mat the state's top seed, fresh off 11 state medals over the weekend, took care of business against Maine South, winning 61-9.
The Broncos won 11 of 14 matches, eight of which came by pin: Cooper Wettig (170 pounds), Trevor Swier (182), Josh LaBarbera (220), Colin Baker (285), Joe Fernau (113), Nick Gonzalez (120), Braden Staffuenberg (145) and Fidel Mahora (152).
"We came out and were ready to wrestle," said Swier, who won his first individual state championship Saturday. "Everyone performed how they expected to. We got a couple things to work on, but we looked good."
Montini will continue its hunt for a third straight Class 3A dual team state championship in the quarterfinals against Lockport, which won 37-27 over Edwardsville Tuesday.
Maine South, which advanced to Tuesday by winning its third straight regional, took three matches off Montini. Joe Everly won 7-2 at 106 pounds, Noah Beltran won 14-9 at 126 and Clay Cichowski won 5-4 at 195.
"I told the guys you need to fight, wrestle, fight and wrestle," Hawks coach Kevin Hansen said. "You wrestle with honor and integrity and do all the things the right way. ... All the things we care about in this program are the things that matter most and I think we did that.
"They dominated the meet on the mat, but the kids did everything we asked them to do."