Naperville Central puts up a fight against nationally ranked Mt. Carmel
After coming up one win shy of qualifying for the individual state wrestling meet, Naperville Central sophomore 113-pounder Tommy Porter is looking forward to seeing how far he can advance the next two seasons.
Tuesday night at the Class 3A dual team sectional at Sandburg, Porter added one more victory to his solid season.
Porter (35-6) picked up a pin against Mt. Carmel's Caleb Drousias at the 3:09 mark, but prior to that bout the nationally ranked Caravan had already built an 18-6 lead with a trio of pins en route to a 47-28 victory that secured a trip to Saturday's state meet in Bloomington.
"I lost in blood round, one match away," Porter said of coming up just short of making the individual state tourney. "It was a tough sectional, but I definitely feel like I deserved to go to state, so I'm making that a goal for next year."
Three Redhawks had qualified for last weekend's state finals in Champaign and, after none managed to place, had another chance in the team sectional to battle on the mats. Captain Tyler Driessens didn't fare as well as he had hoped last weekend but capped his final season with a pin at 132 pounds against Mt. Carmel's Marcus Milianti. The Redhawks senior built an 11-3 lead and then pulled off the pin with just three seconds left in the third period.
"Coming back from the state tournament was not what I wanted (results-wise). But as a captain I had to come back and bring my team up," said Driessens, who finished the year 42-4.
The Redhawks knew the Caravan (10-1) would be tough, but they prepared hard and gave it their all.
"So we knew coming into it it's the No. 2 team in the state and I think they're 17th in the country," Driessens said. "We came in with the same motivation that we always do with the expectation to win, but we knew this was going to be our toughest dual this season. We had the same motivations with the guys coming back from state. We had the whole team, not just the state qualifiers, training down at Huff Hall (in Champaign). So it's not like we at-eased at all. We came in with the same motivation."
The dual started at 195 pounds and Mt. Carmel took a 6-0 lead with a pin before Naperville Central state qualifier Angelo Eklou recorded a pin of Elliott Lewis to draw the teams even at 6-6. But even with Porter and Driessens recording falls, the Caravan led 47-18 before the final two bouts went to the 22-5 Redhawks. Mt. Carmel's two individual state champs last weekend -- Noah Mis and Sergio Lemley -- each moved up a weight class and each earned pins.
Junior Shane Roth won 11-2 at 170 pounds to finish his junior year for the Redhawks with a 33-10 mark, while Tariq Sikander closed out his senior campaign with a pin of Mt. Carmel's Patrick Navarre at 182.
"I told them, kind of our mindset going in and it's kind of been this way all season, that I don't really care if we win or lose," Naperville Central coach Noah Fitzenreider said. "I just want everybody to know that we're a tough team and that we're going to go out with a fight.
"They're a really good team; well coached with really good athletes, but I hope, I think, at the end of the day they respected how we wrestled and how hard our kids fought."