Montini dominates at state
BLOOMINGTON -- The three seemingly elite Class 3A wrestling programs were collectively gasping for air Saturday at Grossinger Motors Arena.
Montini dispatched the season-long Lockport 20-match winning streak early.
Barrington, after an upset of Huntley, could manage only one win in the semifinals.
That left Chicago Catholic League power Mt. Carmel to stem the Broncos' tide.
The 6-point Montini victory in the schools' regular-season match was replaced with Saturday's third and final decisive win.
Montini, with five individual state champions from a week ago in Champaign, extended its record of team state titles to 16 by winning by scores of 59-9, 70-4 and 37-9 over Lockport, Barrington and Mt. Carmel, respectively.
"This is for sure the first undefeated 3A team," Montini senior transfer and state champion Josh LaBarbera said.
Joe Fernau (106 pounds), Dylan Ragusin (132), Joe Roberts (152) and Trevor Swier (182), the Broncos' other state champions last weekend, also went undefeated on the day.
Montini (24-0) dropped only six out of 42 matches in its latest state triumph.
Ragusin, along with Fidel Mayora, is one of two Michigan-bound athletes for Montini. The four-time state finalist met fellow champion Noah Mis of the Caravan at 138.
"I was down for a challenge," Ragusin said.
"There's nothing better than beating a state champion at a class up. This was my final high school match. I wanted to go out and prove a point."
Ragusin, like so many other of his teammates against equally rugged Mt. Carmel competition, won a simple decision.
LaBarbera also had his hands full against Nike Mishka at 220 pounds.
But LaBarbera, who will decide between Penn and Brown University later this week, had a takedown in the final 30 seconds to earn the 3-1 win.
"We try to put ourselves in position to win," LaBarbera said. "I thought (Mishka) got tired at the end."
Sergio Lemley, the 113-pound champion for the Caravan (13-2), had one of three wins for Mt. Carmel, all decisions.
"I think we were really affected by pressure," Lemley said.
Fernau and Roberts had the only bonus points in the match with their two technical falls. Lockport was undefeated in the morning quarterfinals, only to have the Broncos' Braden Stauffenberg, Cooper Wettig, Swier, Nick Gonzalez and Nain Vasquez record falls.
In the semifinals against Barrington, the Broncos' Evan Roper, third in state at 220 pounds, was the lone athlete the Montini squad could not solve.
"We all had to put it together," Fernau said. "I left it all out there."