Good Luck at State!!

Good Luck at State!!

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Great Articles on Jered, Brian, Pat, and Matt. Good luck to ALL of the OA Athlete’s competing at State this weekend!!

Johnny Jimenez and Jered Cortez will be trying to join the select group of four-time champions — there have been 11 — in the event’s 77-year history when the state tournament opens a three-day run Thursday at State Farm Center in Champaign. –
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Making the trip down I-57 to the IHSA state tournament is as good as it gets for some wrestlers.

But the bar is a lot higher for Jered Cortez and Johnny Jimenez. It always has been.

Cortez and Jimenez, teammates as freshmen at Marmion and rivals since, are aiming to wrap up their prep careers the way they began them: as state champions.

The seniors will be trying to join the select group of four-time champions — there have been 11 — in the event’s 77-year history when the state tournament opens a three-day run Thursday at State Farm Center in Champaign.

“It’ll be nice to exit high school with a bang, winning my fourth state title,” said Glenbard North’s Cortez, who is 40-2 and favored in the Class 3A 132-pound bracket. “Four matches, take them one at a time, just focus and have fun this week.”

Cortez won at 112 in Class 2A for Marmion in 2011 and at 120 and 126 in 3A the past two seasons for Glenbard North.

“It’s my senior year, I kind of take it for granted,” Cortez said. “It’s been expected ever since I entered high school, to win [a] state title. It’s really cool to experience it with my teammates and family and friends. … These are the trips you remember, staying in hotel rooms with your buddies and cheering them on.”

He’ll also be rooting for Jimenez — to a point.

“I’ll be cheering for him along the way until he wrestles my teammate, Jon Marmolejo,” Cortez said. “Johnny’s a great kid. He works really hard … I train with him over the summer a little bit.”

Jimenez, 38-3 and the 3A favorite at 126, can’t wait for his final matches in Champaign either.

“I’m getting more excited as the weekend gets closer,” he said. “Winning four state titles is something I’ve been thinking about since I was in grade school.”

Jimenez won 2A titles at 103 and 113 his first two seasons and took first in 3A at 120 last season. He and Marmolejo (41-1) are on opposite sides of the bracket and could meet in the final.

A third wrestler shooting to go 4-for-4 in title bouts is Dakota’s Josh Alber in 1A. He’s 173-0 in his career.

Thornwood junior Kris Williams (27-0) is looking to win his third championship and stay on track to join the four-title club next season

– See more at: http://www.highschoolcubenews.com/news_article/show/351768?referrer_id=599124

Hinsdale Central
matt

For Hinsdale Central’s Matt Allen, the first order of business toward state qualification was to keep a potential finals match against Hinsdale South’s Josh King out of his mind. After all, he had a regional champion in front of him in Marmion’s Lucas Warren.

Warren has only been wrestling for a week since returning from injury but the sophomore fought tooth-and-nail throughout Allen’s 3-2 victory.

“I thought Warren would be out of shape but he was in pretty good shape for only being back a week,” Allen said. “I wanted to either go with my double leg and attack him or go upper body because I remember he had (an upper body injury).”

Allen (37-4) won his semifinal match before taking his first sectional title with a 5-1 win over Batavia’s Connor McKeehan. “I just saw (McKeehan’s) semi’s match and I knew he liked to roll. I never really saw him on neutral so I didn’t know what he did,” Allen said. “When I got the first takedown it was a relief.”

For teammate Juwan Edmund, Saturday’s sectional title match was yet another reunion with Carl Sandburg’s John Pellegrino. “I’ve wrestled him about eight times now, so me and him are quite acquainted,” Edmund said. “I just have to stay in my stance against him and keep my fakes going.”

Edmund won his first sectional crown with a pin of Pellegrino in the third period. Last year’s state runner-up at 138 improved to 44-1 at 145 this season.

“I started feeling good this year at our tournament (the Whitlatch in December),” Edmund said. “I had to go through a couple grinding matches to get my lungs back to where they need to be. I had a better record this year than I did last year, and I’ll go into practice this week with a good mindset and hope for the best.”

As one of the five wrestlers ranked No. 1 in Hinsdale, Red Devils senior Brian Allen (42-1) used a fall and a major decision to reach the title mat at 285, where he won 7-3 over DG South’s Michael Hobbs (35-4), currently ranked third at heavyweight by Illinois Matmen.

Defending state champion Allen won his second consecutive sectional crown and will be chasing his fourth downstate place medal in Champaign.

Central juniors Matt Price (113) and James Manikas (132) also competed at this year’s sectional. Price finished his season with a 33-15 record while Manikas finished 18-13.

Downers Grove North

The Trojans advanced two wrestlers through Hinsdale Central’s meat-grinder in sophomore Pat Walker (106) and senior Nick Bonomo (170).

Ranked No. 2 at Illinois Matmen, Walker opened with a decision win before topping No. 7 Isaac Jacquez of West Aurora in an 8-0 major decision on the semifinal mat.

No. 2 Austin O’Connor of St. Rita pinned Walker (38-3) early in their title match but the sophomore is primed to do some damage in Champaign.

“I’m really proud of his effort and the way he’s wrestling,” McGrath said. “He’s such a dangerous wrestler and he’s gotten back into the sport more and more and more. He’s back into the swing of things after a rough year last year as a light 106-pounder, but he’s one of the elite wrestlers in the state right now.

“He wrestled great against Jacquez and was on the attack and I think he was prepared to do that again against O’Connor. He just caught in a really tough crusher and he fought it as good as he could. Sometimes that happens, but Pat is such a dangerous wrestler and sometimes you have to live by the sword and die by the sword. That happens to everybody.”

Bonomo (41-4) also opened the sectional with a decision win over Sandburg’s Patrick Brucki before losing a 10-4 semifinal decision to eventual champion Nick Ferraro of Marmion. Bonomo went into the sectional ranked No. 6, with Ferraro ranked No. 6, and the two have a long history together.

“I wrestled Bonomo all the time when I was a little kid,” Ferraro said. “He’s been a great opponent and he beat me the last time we wrestled at frosh-soph state, so I’ve wanted to have another shot at him ever since.”

Bonomo bounced back to secure a trip downstate via a 6-2 consolation semifinal decision against Marist’s Jakada Hull. The Trojans’ senior then built a lead on Brucki on the third-place mat before Brucki earned a takedown and back points for the win.

“(Ferraro) is good and he wrestled smart, but I think we can beat him, and we just needed to finish the match against Brucki,” McGrath said. “I thought those three kids were pretty evenly-matched and if you wrestle that sectional ten times and it could go ten different ways. It’s about who gets a break and who finishes.

“But Nick will be a very dangerous fourth-place sectional finisher downstate. He’s going to wrestle a No. seed and no No. 1 seed wants to wrestle him.”

Also competing for the Trojans in Hinsdale were seniors Diego Rodriguez (19-12 at 132), Milad Abd (33-12 at 152) and Mike Gastaldello (38-12 at 160).

Gastaldello finished one win away from advancing downstate, going 2-2 on the day and losing his consolation semifinal to Marmion’s Sammy Breen.

“Diego and Milad had an uphill battle,” McGrath said. “Milad didn’t wrestle at all last year and Diego missed the start of the year because of injuries, so I’m very proud of their efforts this year. We talk a lot in wrestling about how it’s not what you do, it’s what you overcome that counts, and how wrestling is supposed to teach you never to quit. And those kids never quit.

“For (Gastaldello), I really thought he was the fourth best kid in his bracket, but that’s just not how the brackets fell.”

Junior heavyweight EJ Phillips entered the sectional with only 5 matches under his belt, having missed nearly the entire season with a football injury. Phillips lost his first sectional match but won twice in the wrestleback round before losing his consolation semifinal to Stagg’s Mantas Drukteinis.

“I would have liked for EJ to have a shot at (Drukteinis) with 30 matches under his belt,” McGrath said. “EJ is one of the toughest kids I’ve ever coached. He’s a warrior and he kept coming. If he stays healthy he is going to be a force next year.”

Making the trip down I-57 to the IHSA state tournament is as good as it gets for some wrestlers.

But the bar is a lot higher for Jered Cortez and Johnny Jimenez. It always has been.

Cortez and Jimenez, teammates as freshmen at Marmion and rivals since, are aiming to wrap up their prep careers the way they began them: as state champions.

The seniors will be trying to join the select group of four-time champions — there have been 11 — in the event’s 77-year history when the state tournament opens a three-day run Thursday at State Farm Center in Champaign.

“It’ll be nice to exit high school with a bang, winning my fourth state title,” said Glenbard North’s Cortez, who is 40-2 and favored in the Class 3A 132-pound bracket. “Four matches, take them one at a time, just focus and have fun this week.”

Cortez won at 112 in Class 2A for Marmion in 2011 and at 120 and 126 in 3A the past two seasons for Glenbard North.

“It’s my senior year, I kind of take it for granted,” Cortez said. “It’s been expected ever since I entered high school, to win [a] state title. It’s really cool to experience it with my teammates and family and friends. … These are the trips you remember, staying in hotel rooms with your buddies and cheering them on.”

He’ll also be rooting for Jimenez — to a point.

“I’ll be cheering for him along the way until he wrestles my teammate, Jon Marmolejo,” Cortez said. “Johnny’s a great kid. He works really hard … I train with him over the summer a little bit.”

Jimenez, 38-3 and the 3A favorite at 126, can’t wait for his final matches in Champaign either.

“I’m getting more excited as the weekend gets closer,” he said. “Winning four state titles is something I’ve been thinking about since I was in grade school.”

Jimenez won 2A titles at 103 and 113 his first two seasons and took first in 3A at 120 last season. He and Marmolejo (41-1) are on opposite sides of the bracket and could meet in the final.

A third wrestler shooting to go 4-for-4 in title bouts is Dakota’s Josh Alber in 1A. He’s 173-0 in his career.

Thornwood junior Kris Williams (27-0) is looking to win his third championship and stay on track to join the four-title club next season

– See more at: http://www.highschoolcubenews.com/news_article/show/351768?referrer_id=599124#sthash.rkCMZyAx.dpuf

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