All Waubonsie Valley’s Jimmy Davis did Saturday was beat two wrestlers ranked ahead of him by Illinois Matmen, capped by an overtime takedown for the title at 138 pounds against Marist’s Mario Leveille.
Davis also took a moment to stop and smell the roses as he was becoming a sectional champion.
“There was a pause in the match and I was looking around a little,” Davis said. “My grandparents up are there in the stands, my parents, old friends, teammates — everyone was watching, and that makes it really something special.”
Davis and teammate Mitch Kroening (182) advanced to next weekend’s state finals in Champaign. Kroening placed third with a pin of Mount Carmel’s Jimmy Mickens.
“It’s my first time downstate and it’s really exciting,” Kroening said. “Mickens was a really tough kid, and I did a lot of scouting and watched a lot of these kids before coming here. The Mickens match was a big one for me. He looked a little nervous going in and I took advantage of it.”
Naperville Central’s lone sectional qualifier also kept the dream alive, as junior Ben Williamson won 2-0 in a consolation semifinal match at 132 over St. Rita’s Mike Falco.
“I got downstate from the Shepard Sectional last year and that was tough, and my bracket at this sectional is one of the toughest, so it’s awesome to go up against these guys,” Williamson said. “It really tells me where I am going into the state tournament.”
Naperville North’s Ben Brancaleon also advanced and beat a pair of regional champs in the process at 195.
“I had the confidence that I could beat them, and it’s exciting to get to the finals,” Brancaleon said. “I wrestled for six whole minutes in every match and I found what I needed inside of me. Getting downstate has been my goal all year and it feels great to get there.”
Brancaleon finished second to Marmion’s Josh Meyers by a 9-6 decision on the title mat.
For fourth-place finisher Kenan Carter, the jump from 126 last year to 152 this season paid off for the Metea Valley junior with a consolation semifinal win over Stagg’s Tyler Mackessy.
Carter also won 8-0 over a returning state-placer in Lyons’ AJ Villareal along the way.
“I thought I’d be wrestling 138 this year, but 152 worked out,” Carter said. “I’ve been working all year on my offense and attacking guys so they don’t have a chance to attack you.”