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Richmond-Burton Rockets' Dechow: Athlete of the Week

February 23, 2012
Richmond Burton High School

Athlete of the Week:


Richmond-Burton, sr.

Dechow got a late start to the season because of injury. After winning Harvard’s tournament in December, he rolled to a state title. With two second-place finishes the past two years, Dechow (33-0) left little doubt in the Class 2A 182-pound title match with a first-period pin. (NWHerald 2/23/12)

Rockets' Dechow is unbeaten, unrelenting

by ROB SMITH - rsmith@shawmedia.com

Richmond-Burton’s Jack Dechow is not bitter about just missing out on winning a wresting state championship the past two seasons.

Dechow, who finished second in 2010 and 2011, is not happy about it, but he knows it made him a stronger competitor this season.

“I feel like I learned the hard way,” Dechow said. “I didn’t want to learn that way. I’d like to have one or two state titles. That just made me better.”

This season Dechow has a determined, business-like attitude towards his matches. His only focus is on the match he is wrestling and he refuses to overlook anyone.

“Don’t look past and just kill every opponent,” Dechow said was his approach this season. “Mentally and physically break them.”

At 30-0, Dechow is the only undefeated wrestler in the Class 2A 182-pound weight class and is ranked No. 1 by Illinoismatmen.com. He is an overwhelming favorite to win state and has defeated several top wrestlers in the 182 and 195 weight classes this season.

“I’ve got to get that state title,” Dechow said.

Another overwhelming favorite in 2A is Crystal Lake Central’s Gage Harrah. His only loss this season was against 3A Lockport’s Brad Johnson in the 195 final of the Dvorak Tournament at Harlem in December.

Harrah is ranked No. 1 at 195 in 2A and has pinned No. 2 Jacob Davis from Sycamore and No. 3 Joel Valdivia from Grayslake Central already this season. While confident, Harrah is mindful of making costly errors.

“What I’m worried about is mental mistakes,” Harrah said.

Here are three other
storylines to follow at state.

New format: This year in Classes 1A and 2A, the top four sectional place winners qualify for state. Previously, only Class 3A qualified four out of sectionals while 1A and 2A sent the top three.

The extra wrestlers mean more overall matches, particularly in the consolation brackets, and added an extra day to the state tournament. State begins today with first round matches for all classes starting at 2:30 p.m.

Also new this year will be a fuller awards stand. Fifth and sixth places now will be awarded in 1A and 2A instead of the top four previously.

No. 1 ranked: In addition to Harrah and Dechow, three other wrestlers enter the state tournament as the top ranked wrestlers in their weight classes – Harvard’s Dan Stott at 170 in 1A and the Tigers’ Clay Lutzow (138) and Jason Fugiel (152).

Lutzow, who placed fourth last season at state, had a 6-4 decision against R-B’s Garrett Sutton to win the Grayslake Central Sectional. Having close matches in pressure situations helps you mentally and physically, Lutzow said.

“If I would have [gone] [to sectionals] and pinned everybody, I would have thought I could beat anybody,” Lutzow said. “Having close matches makes you better.”

Fugiel finished second last year at state and admitted to being caught up in the hoopla of the atmoshphere at Assembly Hall.

“Last time I got distracted by the crowds,” Fugiel said. “I just can’t let it happen again.”

Tough brackets: R-B’s Cameron Kennedy has one of the tougher draws at state. Kennedy, ranked third, opens up with Cahokia’s Leslie Williams ranked No. 4 and then could face Montini’s No. 2-ranked Kevon Powell in the quarterfinals.

On the other side of the bracket from Kennedy is No. 1-ranked Matt Garelli from Fenwick, who beat Kennedy in the sectional finals but needed overtime to do it.

Crystal Lake South’s Tom Gerszewski’s only loss this season was to Glenbard North’s Brian Murphy in the Dvorak finals.

Gerszewski could see Murphy in the state finals but must get through Lane Tech’s Max Schneider first.

Scheider, who won state in 2010 and was injured last season, bumped up to 152 for state and is considered a strong contender. (NWHerald 2/16/12)

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