West Aurora first, WW South second at Geneva's annual Newbill invite
Noah Quintana wasn't quite able to place at the IHSA state tournament last season.
One best believe Quintana, the West Aurora senior, used that as offseason fuel to his fire and hopefully earn a spot back this time around later next month.
Quintana was one of four first-place finishers for West Aurora, which helped vault the Blackhawks to the Newbill Invite team title on Jan. 7 at Geneva. West Aurora (199.5), Wheaton Warrenville South (188.5) and Geneva (145) rounded out the top three team scores of the 18-team field.
"My offseason was really on and off with wrestling," Quintana, the 160-pound champion, said.
Quintana won by fall over Geneva's Dylan Konkey in the second period of the finals, and earned falls in all three of his matches on the afternoon.
"My go-to is usually always a cradle, so I try to focus on that. If I see it, I take it," Quintana said. "Once I lock my hands, I try my best to not to let go."
The combination of hitting the gym every morning and eating four to five meals every day allowed him to bump up two weight classes from 145 to 160.
"I spent a couple months with wrestling and I took a break and went to the gym just to try and put on some weight," Quintana said.
Robby Wyland (113), Adrian Ortiz (132) and Tyler Johnston (285) were also champions for West Aurora.
Dominic Serio (145) took second and his brother, Dayne, (138) took third. Francisco Solis (170) took fourth; Aiden Massaro (126) placed fifth, while Angelo Regalado (152) and Payton Corral (195) each took sixth. Evan Matkovich (120) rounded out the team in eighth.
"We've been doing very well," Dominic Serio said. "When we have our full lineup together, we're really good. In the wrestling room, coach [Andrew Plata] likes to do a lot of live situations. We just do everything that we need and keep up our conditioning."
Geneva senior Joey Sikorsky took the 106-pound title to highlight the afternoon for the Vikings, who also had three second-place finishes from Joe Pettit (220), John Schmidt (195) and Konkey (160). Payton Marzen (170) took third, as did Maguire Hoeksema (152).
Sikorsky has endured a fruitful last few weeks, placing second at a tournament last week and winning his weight class at a team dual last Thursday.
"Definitely keeping a good mentality and a level head knowing I could just get out there and know my hard work is paying off," Sikorsky said on his last few performances.
"He has been having a very good year," Geneva coach Tom Chernich said. "I think with him, he has a lot of confidence and when his confidence is high, he's a real good wrestler. We need to get him a lot of tough matches [in the next few weeks]. With him, we're looking at getting down to state and winning matches and hopefully getting on the podium down there."
Schmidt and Pettit have been strong anchors for the Geneva lineup in the heavier weight classes.
"John [Schmidt] took second and lost in overtime today. A very tough match, but he's been in the finals of all our tournaments and he's won all but two now," Chernich said. "Joe Pettit is only a sophomore. Had a nice pin in the semifinals and sometimes, at 220, it's pin or be pinned. [He was pinned in the finals]."
WW South junior Sedeeq Al Obaidi won his 170-pound title by injury default. The Tigers received a solid team showing across the board that included a second-place finish by Jaidyn Buziecki (138) and three third-place finishes from Aarav Ledvora (106), Cooper Hollis (132) and Zean Al Obaidi (160).
"[I'm] doing well in the room," Sedeeq Al Obaidi said on his performance the last number of weeks.
Entering Saturday, Sedeeq Al Obaidi was 20-4.
"Wrestling hard. Outside of the room, just trying to stick to my plan every time I get in there and always dominate," he said.
Last season, Sedeeq Al Obaidi made it to the bloodround of his sectional and fell one match short of qualifying for the state tournament.
"I was only a sophomore, so I went ahead and made a dent at the frosh-soph [tournament]. Ended up taking second, and just kept practicing and practicing in the offseason," Sedeeq Al Obaidi said. "Our team, we've got 11 returning varsity guys, so we were all on varsity last year. We're all trying to attack the same goals."