Wrestling: Huntley has high hopes after Wisconsin excursion
Huntley, one of four local Class 3A wrestling programs ranked in the top 12 in the coaches' poll, is in an ideal position to take command of the Fox Valley Conference.
The Raiders are undefeated in all three of their league dual matches; the FVC determines its regular-season champion solely on head-to-head encounters.
"We're right up there in a dual-match format," Huntley coach B.J. Bertelsman said.
The Raiders are 10-4 overall in duals after sweeping their three matches in La Crosse, Wis., over the weekend at the famed Clash Tournament.
Huntley captured the seventh-place bracket with a semifinal and championship victory over respective programs from Wisconsin and Minnesota.
"The last two (wins) came down to the final matches," Bertelsman said.
Junior Jack Coleman had a fall at 152 pounds to earn Huntley a 40-36 victory in the semis; Coleman then bumped up to 160 to secure the Raiders' 40-38 triumph by not allowing his
Rochester Mayo opponent any bonus points.
The Huntley senior stalwarts are Ryder Hunkins and Sam Henke at 182 and 132 pounds. Jake Jessen gives Bertelsman a possible potent 1-2 punch at 126 and 132.
Like many area coaches, Bertelsman has his reservations about internet rankings.
"If you were to see our tournament results, you would question where we are," Bertelsman said of the Raiders occupying the No. 12 slot in the most recent coaches' poll.
But Bertelsman is equally adamant his squad has yet to be tested at full strength.
"We haven't had (an individual) tournament where we have had all of our guys," he said. "It's been disappointing but you go with it."
Huntley will seek a fifth consecutive regional title next month at Dundee-Crown.
The Chargers were one of three local programs to compete at the Newbill Invitational at Geneva over the weekend.
"We have a lot of guys out in quarantine, though not all from COVID," Dundee-Crown coach Tim Hayes said of finishing in the bottom third of the 18-team tournament.
Porter Leith captured the 195-pound title at Geneva with a tactical victory in the championship match.
"His season ended abruptly last year," Hayes said of Leith suffering a season-ending injury during the 2021 spring campaign.
The Chargers, who had six underclass athletes receive a battlefield promotion for Newbill, had not competed since Dec. 16.
"It was a rough few weeks," Hayes said.
Hayes eagerly welcomed back 220-pounder Juan Jasso.
"It was a good day for him to take some losses," Hayes said of Jasso splitting his four matches. "It was good for him to get another tournament under his belt."
West Aurora update:
West Aurora, the fifth top-20 local largest-class program, won its first major tournament title since the 2019 Upstate Eight Conference championship with a 165-155 triumph over Brother Rice at Geneva.
The No. 17 Blackhawks had eight wrestlers place fifth or better.
Gio Amaya was the Blackhawks' lone champion -- at 182 pounds -- but Ashton Massaro and state-ranked underclassmen Dom Serio and Noah Quintana all reached the finals, in
succession, between 132 and 145 pounds.
"It was great to see," West Aurora coach Andrew Plata said. "All of these guys are solid. (Amaya) is finally getting his time to shine. He was stuck behind (former state runner-up and current Michigan freshman) Dzhabrail (Khurshidov). He got it done on Saturday."
Host Geneva was fifth at the Newbill with 105 points. Johnny Schmidt (195 pounds) was second; Dylan Schlegel (120) and Ben Kunkel (170) were third.
St. Charles North update:
At Sycamore, St. Charles North junior Drew Surges extended his season-opening winning streak to 19 matches with a second invitational title at 182 pounds.