Marmion paces area programs at Hinsdale Central with 10 state qualifiers
Jameson Garcia was in a customary position.
Tyler Perry and Jack Lesher want to taste the same feeling as their Marmion wrestling teammate.
The last three days of the Class 3A individual wrestling season are upon us after Marmion, which ended the regular season ranked fourth in the coaches' poll, led all programs at the Hinsdale Central sectional with 10 qualifiers to the state tournament next weekend at State Farm Center in Champaign.
Garcia, the Bartlett native who captured the coaches' association (the IWCOA) state tournament last spring, had few issues in delivering a dominant technical-fall victory in the finals at 113 on Saturday at Hinsdale Central.
The Cadets, who advanced five to the championship mat, would have to wait, however, until Perry and Lesher duplicated the feat with back-to-back sectional titles at 170 and 182 pounds.
"I just know that if I can get to my attacks, no one can stop me," said Garcia, who stopped Anthony Lopez, the lone state qualifier for Morton, with a second-period margin greater than 15 points. "Every single match I go in with that mindset. Confidence is the key."
"Right now, we're just focusing on rallying together as a team," said St. Charles' Lesher, the fourth-ranked 182-pounder who scored all the offensive points in a 9-1 victory over Mt. Carmel sophomore Rylan Breen.
The No. 3 Caravan denied Marmion in both the Catholic League regular-season duals as well as the league tournament.
The schools will meet again the Tuesday after the individual state finals at Marist for a berth in the team-state finals' Elite Eight.
"Mt. Carmel is on our mind, but we are focused on being the best that we can be individually," Lesher, a sophomore, said.
"I am feeling really good about my wrestling and conditioning," said the Cadets' third sectional champion, Perry, a Batavia resident. "The team energy has pushed me to do my best."
Perry employed a reversal and two takedowns in his championship match against Downers Grove South senior Will Schuesler to win 7-3.
The Cadets' Danny Pigoni and Collin Carrigan settled for runner-up finishes at 106 and 152 pounds for Marmion.
Sean Scheck pinned West Aurora senior Gio Amaya, who struggled through injuries all day, to capture the Cadets' lone third-place major-consolation title at 220 pounds.
Santino Scolaro (138 pounds), Tegan Chumbley (145), Kenny Siwicki (160) and Teddy Perry (195) all punched the final four Marmion tickets to the state tournament by advancing to the third-place matches.
West Aurora also had three individuals extend their seasons by winning critical wrestleback rounds in the consolation bracket to get into the coveted top four -- and hence automatic advancement.
In addition to Amaya, heavyweight Jordan Lishman denied Downers North senior Jordan Lewis 3-2 in the third-place finals.
Brothers Noah and Moses Quintana were the Blackhawks' third, fourth and final qualifiers at consecutive weight classes at 145 and 152 pounds.
Noah Quintana was edged 4-3 in the finals by Eisenhower senior Nate Pacetti.
"I feel like I needed to open up a little more, shoot a little more and attack more in general," said Noah Quintana, a sophomore. "I adapted to the other kids' weaknesses (to reach the championship match)."
"I am just glad I was able to bounce back and get those last two matches (in the consolation bracket)," said Lishman, the No. 6-ranked heavyweight. "Right now, I am satisfied."
The postseason invariable engenders heartache for certain programs.
Naperville Central immediately comes to mind during the latest wrestling cycle.
The Redhawks ended the Cadets' seven-year regional run two years ago.
Naperville Central ended the season ranked No. 7, only to be completely overshadowed by having top-ranked behemoth DeKalb in its DuPage Valley Conference.
Ethan Olson and Ayden Lutes are the last athletes standing for the Redhawks.
The former was pinned by reigning state champion and top-ranked Mt. Carmel junior Sergio Lemley in the 126-pound finals; Lutes is 22-2 after an abbreviated 152-pound slate with his third-place triumph over Moses Quintana.
"It was tough," Olson said of the Redhawks' final weeks of the season. "Some of our guys got hurt. We got most of our guys (eight) out to the sectional, but Hinsdale Central is a tough sectional. The second day was tough. It was cool to wrestle a state champ; it made me better."
"I was out with a broken hand," Lutes said of his midseason struggles. "It was kind of an anti-climactic ending (to our season). I am focused on myself right now."
Naperville North and Neuqua Valley had their seasons come to a close during the two-day war of attrition that is inevitably associated with the west suburban largest-class sectional.
Waubonsie Valley senior Antonio Torres is the man in the spotlight for the three Indian Prairie high schools.
All-state two years ago at the last IHSA-sponsored state tournament, Torres had his 27-match winning streak snapped in the Saturday-morning semifinals.
But the Warriors' standout rebounded with convincing wins, including a second straight pin of Marmon in as many weekends over Marmion senior Kenny Siwicki in the third-place match at 160.
Torres is 29-1 on the season.
"I just have to regroup and get ready for state," Torres said. "I have to find a way to win next week. I have to fix some things up."