Jered Cortez and Jon Marmolejo dominated their matches to lead the Glenbard North wrestling team to the Class 3A South Elgin Regional championship.
The Panthers advanced 13 of a possible 14 wrestlers into the Leyden Sectional and scored 263.5 team points.
“I thought the kids wrestled pretty well,” Glenbard coach Mark Hahn said. “We got off to a good start and Marmolejo was outstanding. He just wears kids down. He’s a grinder.”
In one of the more anticipated championship bouts, Marmolejo (38-1) went up against Duke Bogicevic (34-2) from Larkin at 126 pounds. It was never really a match as Marmolejo dominated throughout tbefore finally pinning Bogicevic in the third period.
“I knew he would come out strong,” Marmolejo said. “My goal was to wear him down by taking shots and keeping his feet moving.”
Three-time defending state champion Cortez (37-2) made short work of St. Charles East’s Ryan Valesh (29-11) with a 15-0 technical fall in the first round.
St. Charles East finished second with 182 points and advanced nine wrestlers to the sectionals.
After Glenbard North captured the first five matches, the Saints came back with four consecutive championships in the middle-weight brackets. Isaiah Vela won on a forfeit at 138 pounds and then Jake Mende outlasted Mick Huck from Geneva for a 9-5 victory at 145 pounds.
“Our whole goal this year has been to come hard after Glenbard North,” Mende said. “I went to the mat a couple of times but I went out strong.”
One of the gutsier performances came from Elgin’s Zach McCullough (25-4) at 120 pounds. He lost an 8-7 decision to Glenbard’s Pat Augustyn (34-7), but it appeared that he wouldn’t be able to finish his match.
Losing 4-0 in the first period, McCullough came up limping severely and was on the clock for injury time. He stayed in the match and nearly pulled off the comeback.
“I would rather lose and go through pain than forfeit,” McCullough said. “I’m upset that I lost but I’ll see him next week at sectionals.”
Geneva finished in third place with 117 points and will advance five wrestlers to sectionals. Mitch Bradberry came away with the Vikings’ lone championship when he won a 13-10 decision over Glenbard’s George Esparaza at 182 pounds. Bradberry dominated at times and gave away points at other times.
“I’m having problems with both arms with tendonitis in both forearms,” Bradberry said. “He was good. In the second when I gave up those points, I was dragging my arms out.”