Christian Brunner of Dundee-Crown finishes second

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CHAMPAIGN — Dundee-Crown’s Christian Brunner became the 12th wrestler in program history to win a state place medal on Saturday night and only the fourth to reach the state title mat.

The Chargers’ sophomore placed second by 5-3 decision to Deerfield’s Colton Emmerich in a Class 3A title match at 182 pounds.

“I went in there and fought,” Brunner said. “I’ll get it next year. No regrets. I went out and wrestled.”

Brunner (43-5) shook up the State Farm Center on Friday by upsetting top-ranked Alex Benoit of Marist in a state semifinal match, setting up his fourth meeting with Emmerich this year.

Brunner was a 132-pound varsity freshman last year and didn’t make it out of the regional.

“I had more confidence this year, knowing I could hang with people,” Brunner said. “When I beat (Crystal Lake Central’s) Mike Zelasco this year, I started to really believe.”

Dundee-Crown coach Bob Skilman knew Brunner had the capability to do some damage to the competition downstate.

“He works so hard and he has such a great attitude,” Skilman said. “We knew how good he was and we were happy he wasn’t ranked as high as he probably should have been.

“He just kept getting better and better with experience this year, he fixed some little things, and he’s a goer.”

The lanky Emmerich proved difficult to finish a shot on throughout the title match.

“It was hard to get in on him,” Brunner said. “He’s a tough, tough kid. But I’ll work hard in the offseason to get back here next year.”

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