Libertyville, Prospect, Antioch headed to state

By Mike Garofola
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 2/22/2022 9:04 PM

Pin happy Libertyville and Prospect advanced into the Class 3A dual-team state wrestling tournament this Friday after decisive victories Tuesday night in Lincolnshire at sectional host Stevenson.

The No. 12 Wildcats (15-5-0) were chasing rival Huntley (17-6-0) after the first six bouts of the night when the No 16 Red Raiders (17-6-0) used pins from Zach Hornickel (106), Sam Henkle (132) and Zach Rogala (138) wrapped around a major decision by Aidan Lira at 113 to give their club a 22-12 advantage -- but that was it for coach BJ Bertelsmans' club, who would concede 29 unanswered points.


"We knew coming in that Huntley was a dangerous opponent but when we received a big pin from Andrew McClendon (152), whose been out since regionals, and another pin by Charlie Clark (160) -- who has not competed in two months -- it proved just what we needed to help us to victory," said Wildcats coach Dale Eggert, after his club recorded a 41-31 victory to earn its eighth trip downstate, and first since 2014.

The Wildcats' opener in Bloomington this Friday at Grossinger Motors Arena will be at 5 p.m. against No. 3 Mt. Carmel.

State champion Josh Knudten (182, 40-3) fought off upset-minded Ryder Hunkins (33-10) in their 182-pound contest, 5-4, while third-place state medal winners, Caelen Riley (120, 41-5) and Austin Gomez (36-11) contributed to the cause with pins in their respective bouts.

"I thought we would be in trouble without three regulars in our lineup, but the guys fought hard, had the lead for awhile, but we showed ourselves pretty well against a very good team tonight," said Bertelsman, who threw plenty of praise toward his sophomore heavyweight, Markos Mihalopoulos, who was a state qualifier this season.

Prospect 48, Fremd 27:

No. 11 Prospect (24-7) stunned No. 14 Fremd (12-4-0) with a firestorm of pins -- much like Libertyville did to Huntley -- but with great force in the Knights' 48-27 victory that sends coach Dan Keller's team downstate for the fourth time, where it will meet Moline, who defeated Edwardsville Tuesday night, at 5 p.m. this Friday.

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"We had a plan coming in and a backup plan but when we went with our original plan, the guys really came through to make this just an amazing night for Prospect wrestling," said a proud Keller.

"Two really big matches for us came at 120 and 126,- where James Mateos, one of our top JV kids, came out and got us a pin before Tom Miller, who bumped up from (120) pinned a great opponent in Jake Crandall to set the table for Will (Baysingar) and after that we just took control of this match."

Baysingar (48-2), state runner-up at 126 last weekend in Champaign, was one of seven Knights who recorded pins over the Vikings, who took an early lead when state runner-up Wiley Jessup (43-6) and third-place medal winner Evan Gosz (113, 43-4) put 10 points on the board for coach Jeff Keskes' club until their league rival ran away for good.

"It was a great night for Keller and his guys. A tip of the hat to them, and best of luck at dual-team state. For us, it was a tough night that we didn't expect, but it's been a great season nonetheless," said Keske.


"We came home from state with three state medals (Charlie Fifield, 46-6, 4th at 145) and we have a terrific core of guys back next season so we'll continue to work hard to get back in this sectional sooner than later."

Antioch 46, St. Patrick 35:

Antioch wrestlers knew what they needed to do in order to advance to the dual team state tournament: win with pins.

The Sequoits had five pins on Tuesday night against St. Patrick, running out to an early lead that they would never give up in a 46-35 win.

"We did exactly what we needed to do," Antioch coach Wilbur Borreo said. "We needed to pin kids and I think we pinned everyone except for one match. That puts the burden on them."

Gavin Hanrahan (106) Caleb Nobiling (138), Sean Goodmann (145), Ben Vazquez (152) and Evan Vazquez (160) all won their match by pin. Logan Perez (113) and James Kasprzak (285) both won by forfeit while Edgar Albino (120) impressed with a 11-0 win over Olin Walker.

Antioch last qualified for the quarterfinals in 2018 and Borreo is excited to see how this close group can do at Bloomington together this weekend.

"I think this is a close-knit team," Borreo said. "They've done well together, they work well at practice. It's exciting to have them, so we'll see if we can pass that first match down there."

Deerfield 39, Crystal Lake Central 30:

Justen Lehr knew his team was in for a tough battle when Crystal Lake Central drew Deerfield for its Class 2A Woodstock North Dual Team Sectional matchup.

The Warriors showed why they are one of the favorites to win a state title, ending the Tigers' season 39-30 on Tuesday night and securing their spot at the dual team state tournament.

"Not much you can do," Lehr said. "The kids gave a great effort, we were overmatched. They have six state placers, we had one. For us to make it to dual (sectional), the kids wrestled really well."

The night started well for Crystal Lake Central when Leo Diaz won his match at 285 pounds with a disqualification while Payton Ramsey won at 106 with a pin, but Deerfield won the six four matches.

The dual shifted at 126 when Jackson Palzet won 10-9 for the Warriors in overtime against the Tigers' Greco Rendon. Lehr had planned out his matchups with the expectation to win against Palzet after Crystal Lake Central had beaten him during the season, but Palzet held off a Rendon comeback to secure himself the win and a key win for Deerfield.

Connor Lezama tried to turn the tide at 152 when he was down 10-3 early in the second period to Stamos Tsakiris before he went on a 8-1 run to tie the match at 11 before Lezama took the final lead in the final minute to make it a 30-15 Deerfield lead.

Lezama was proud to comeback against Tsakiris, who eliminated Lezama in the blood round of the individual state tournament this past weekend in Champaign, and gave his team hope late in its dual.

"It felt great," Lezama said. "That's the fourth time I've seen him this season. Obviously it stings losing to him the blood round of state but it was just good to redeem myself."

Dillon Carlson moved up to 170 and won his match 4-0 to make it a 36-18 Warriors lead with three matches to go, but Deerfield's Braeden Wittkamp defeated Crystal Lake Central's Ben Butler 8-1 to secure his team a berth to Bloomington this weekend.

Jon Barrick (195) and Mitch Helm (220) both won by forfeit at the end of the night.

"This is a tough team that has a chance to win a state championship," Lezama said. "It's just unlucky we got them in the first round."

Lehr was proud of his team's effort not only Tuesday night but throughout the season. He had an inexperienced team that had strong senior leadership that the coach thought not many people expected to succeed.

But the Tigers had a chance to force a first-place tie for the Fox Valley Conference in their last match of the season and Lehr had strong performances from different wrestlers throughout the year.

Not many expected his team to get to Tuesday, and his wrestlers showed just how good they were.

"I thought we had a great year," Lehr said. "I thought we had a chance, a couple bad breaks with Huntley and we were there to maybe win a conference championship. We had good senior leadership."

­-- Michal Dwojak, Shaw Media

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