All the blood, sweat, bruises and practice of a year culminate into one grueling day – wrestling regionals. For those who finish in the top three of their weight class, there is another day. For the rest, individual seasons are over.
Five high schools combined to send 25 wrestlers to the Moline Sectional next Friday and Saturday after competing in the Bolingbrook Class 3A Regional here Saturday.
Waubonsie Valley claimed the Bolingbrook Regional plaque scoring 163.5 points.
Neuqua Valley took fourth place with 117.5 points followed by Oswego East (109) and Oswego (107.5). East Aurora finished eighth in the nine-team field and qualified a pair of wrestlers. Waubonsie Valley, Neuqua Valley and Oswego each had six qualifiers while Oswego East will send five.
“They came up huge,” said Waubonsie Valley coach Brad Caldwell. “We had a great first round. They worked hard and earned it. It’s real satisfying.”
Jimmy Davis (132 pounds), Howard Beatty (138) and Anthony Touchstone (220) earned regional championships for the Warriors. Davis, a junior, won by an 11-5 decision for his regional title and improves to 39-4.
“This is my third year on varsity and I’ve always had that one kid I couldn’t get past,” said Davis. “I’ve never won a tournament so it feels good to get it here in the postseason.”
Beatty, a senior, defeated Oswego’s Nick Aguirre 5-3 in the championship match to up his season mark to 33-5 and claim his first regional crown. After a first round bye, Beatty downed Neuqua Valley’s Trevor Hunt by fall at the 2.22 mark. Tied 3-3 in the final period, Beatty scored two points with :20 left.
“He got a reversal and went up 3-2, and I knew I had to step it up,” Beatty said. “At the very end he took a bad shot, so I countered on it.”
Touchstone squared off with the Wildcats’ Godfrey Collins II in the championship match. Knotted at 1-1 after three periods, the extra 1:30 was needed. Touchstone, who was feeling the effects of a sinus infection and needed his inhaler, mustered enough energy to record a fall at 7.29 and win his first regional.
“I had to go, plan the right time and follow through,” said Touchstone, a senior. “The infection got into my lungs. I haven’t been getting enough and it’s been messing with all week. I didn’t know how long I could go.”
Collins II and Oswego East’s Ryan Ingalls also advanced. Ingalls downed East Aurora’s Derrick Mosley by fall in the third place match.
Neuqua Valley’s Connor Swier (182) and Andrew Geers (285) each took first place. Geers, a senior, remained unbeaten at 34-0 and won his second regional while Swier, a junior, also won his second regional. Swier (31-3) won all three matches by major decision including the final 11-1. Geers scored a 9-2 decision over East Aurora’s Frederico Diaz (22-7).
“I had some tough kids that I had to get through today,” explained Swier. “I feel that I’m peaking at the right time and that is important.”
“It was a good match, but I could have performed better,” Geers said. “I was a little out of it and gave a lot up, but I know I can better and have to prepare for next week.”
The Wolves’ Andrew Chastain ((152) won by default when Oswego’s Bo Pradel was unable to wrestle in the final. Chastain takes a 31-7 mark into the sectionals.
The Warriors’ Sean Sarkauskas punched his ticket to sectionals with a third place win recording a fall at the 1.35 mark.
Oswego East sophomore Zach Prinz (170) won his first regional when Waubonsie Valley’s Mitch Kroening was not able to continue after an elbow injury.
“Everything went so fast I can’t really explain what happened,” said Prinz who improved to 31-3. “I went in for a somewhat of a duck and he tried to post his elbow and everything went downhill from there. My heart goes out to him. He’s a great kid and didn’t have any hard feelings.”
The Panthers’ Max Larsen defeated Oswego East’s Tim Iannantone in the 160 pound championship scoring an 8-2 decision. Larsen, a senior, improved to 28-3 and won his first regional after winning by fall in the first round and collecting a major decision in the semi finals.
“I’ve seen (Iannantone) three times this season, and he pulled the match closer,” Larson said. “He’s a good friend of mine and I’m happy he’s going to sectional.”
Oswego’s Andrew McFall (29-6) grabbed second place at 106 pounds to advance, and East Aurora’s Raul Ochoa (25-7) won by fall in the third place match to qualify at 113 pounds.
Justin Killacky (Neuqua Valley) and Jack Pradel (Oswego) finished second and third respectively at 120 pounds to continue their seasons. Killacky owns a 21-9 mark while Pradel is 25-11.
Justin Garza (Oswego East) and Justin Klein (Neuqua Valley) won third place matches at 126 and 132 respectively. Garza (18-21) won by fall, and Klein (22-9) scored an 11-4 decision over Oswego East’s Mike Fountain.
Alex Skarr (Neuqua Valley) earned a 6-3 win in the third place, 145 pound match and moved his season record to 18-16.
Waubonsie Valley’s Anthony Napolitano (30-8) fell 2-1 in the 195 title bout while Oswego’s Max Hively (195) recorded a pin at the 1:30 mark of the third place match.
“We’ve been competing at a high level and wrestled excellent competition that got us ready for this regional tournament,” said Oswego coach Andrew Cook. “We did a real nice in the two third place matches getting two big W’s from Jack Pradel and Max Hively.”
The competition will be even steeper next week.