CHAMPAIGN — Sitting back isn’t Christian Brunner’s style before, and there was no reason to change tactics now.
The Dundee-Crown sophomore moved into the Class 3A state quarterfinals with a 10-5 win over Taft’s Nico Gallo at 182 pounds in Thursday’s preliminary round at State Farm Center.
“I just had to be aggressive,” Brunner said. “I knew that coming in. I had to wrestle like I wrestled Colton (Emmerich of Deerfield in last week’s sectional).”
Brunner (41-4), scored the last three points of the match after Gallo pulled within 7-5 early in the third period.
“I chased a move that wasn’t there,” Brunner said.
But his conditioning paid off, which wasn’t anything new.
“I usually feel that way in most matches,” he said.
Brunner, who is ranked sixth by lllinoisMatmen.com, faces fourth-ranked Jimmy Mickens (35-8) of Mount Carmel in Friday’s quarterfinals.
He’s one of two Chargers who reached the quarters. At 285, Jeremy Marshall (41-6) pinned Lake Park’s Kameron Hardwick to earn a matchup with top-ranked Brian Allen (43-1) of Hinsdale Central.
Also advancing to the quarterfinals was St. Charles East junior Keone Derain (42-5), who won 9-5 over Alton’s Qiante Wagner at 152 in Class 3A.
Derain meets fourth-ranked Joey Gunther (37-6) of Libertyville in the quarterfinals.
Two of Derain’s teammates lost their openers. Isaiah Vela (39-5) fell 7-6 to WW South’s Qarin Johnnic at 138 and Jake Mende (33-9) dropped a 10-1 major decision to Hononegah’s Fernie Silva at 145. Larkin’s Duke Bogisevic (37-5) was pinned in 4:36 by Lockport’s Shayne Oster (40-6) in a Class 3A opener at 126. Huntley’s Ricky Vigil (32-10) lost a technical fall at 4:00 in 3A at 126 to Marmion’s Johnny Jimenez, who is going for his fourth state title.
In Class 2A, Hampshire’s Kyle Szlenk (36-9, 106) and Anton Krocko (36-10, 182) each lost openers.