2012 2013 Wrestling Season: NWH Wrestler of the Year
March 12, 2013Richmond Burton High School
NWH Wrestler of the Year: Mission accomplished for R-B's Kennedy
Richmond-Burton wrestling coach Bret Wojcik has been matside at some significant matches at the state finals at Assembly Hall in Champaign, but being there for Cameron Kennedy’s state title this year may top them all.
Wojcik coached Jordan Blanton to three state championships from 2005 to 2008, was there when Jack Dechow won last year and also for Garrett Sutton, who won this season. While all were special, Wojcik said he didn’t think the others had as much on the line or won as dramatically as Kennedy.
“It was probably the best coaching moment of my career,” Wojcik said. “It’s almost movie-worthy. I was overcome with joy for [Kennedy].”
Kennedy, a senior, had placed at state in each of his three previous seasons. He was sixth in 2010 in Class 3A when he wrestled for Grant High School, second in 2011 for the Rockets in 2A and third in 2012. There was also living up to a family legacy with Cameron’s brother Jimmy winning two titles for Grant in 2004 and 2006.
Those expectations and pressure were nothing compared to the last 30 seconds of his 126-pound championship match at state against Jordan Laster of Montini. Laster got a takedown with about 30 seconds left in the third period to go up 2-1. Kennedy began flailing and was clearly desperate to do anything to get an escape to tie the match.
Thoughts of losing again started to creep into his mind, Kennedy admitted.
“That was definitely what was going through my head,” Kennedy said. “I was frantic. That thought hit my head, and that was when I knew I had to get out.”
Kennedy did one better and reversed Laster with time expiring to earn a 3-2 decision and a state championship
“Cameron never stopped wrestling,” Wojcik said. “He beat Jordan Laster because he never stopped wrestling.”
For his accomplishments, Kennedy is the Northwest Herald Wrestler of the Year as selected by the sports staff with input from area coaches.
Also given strong consideration were Sutton and Harvard’s Anthony Luis. Sutton won the 152-pound state championship with a late third-period takedown to defeat Sycamore’s Austin Culton, 5-4, in the finals. The win capped an undefeated season for Sutton (38-0).
Luis won the Class 1A state championship at 106 pounds with an 11-3 major decision against Coal City’s Cody Minnick in the finals. Minnick (47-1) was undefeated and ranked No. 1 by Illinoismatmen.com heading into the tournament.
Kennedy said moving to Richmond-Burton for his sophomore season and moving in with his Sutton cousins was instrumental in his success.
“Being at Grant and not wrestling with [the Suttons] was a big deal for me,” Kennedy said. “Coming over to Richmond helped me a lot.”
The Suttons, Garrett a junior, Grant a sophomore who placed at state the past two seasons and Gavin an eighth-grader, gave Kennedy the support he needed both in and out of the wrestling practice room.
“My cousins really helped me out,” Kennedy said. “We all shared the experience of winning and losing. It helps to have someone close to you like that.”
Wojcik said getting Kennedy was a benefit to his program aside from the wins. And there were plenty of wins. Kennedy lost only four times as a Rocket, all of them to either state champions or state runners-up.
Garrett Sutton and Kennedy were named team captains and were almost like assistant coaches this season, Wojcik said.
“Both of them are really good at that,” Wojcik said of their leadership and willingness to help other wrestlers. “[Kennedy’s] really quiet but leads through his action.”
Understanding Kennedy’s style and quiet nature was an adjustment for Wojcik, who was used to more aggressive wrestlers but said Kennedy was the best technical wrestler he has had.
“[Kennedy’s] sometimes hard to read. You have to just sit back and let him do it his own way,” Wojcik said. “Jordan, Jack and Garrett would just run you over.”
Kennedy brought a renewed focus and determination in his approach to his senior season. Wojcik said Kennedy was open to learning everything he could to get an edge and went above and beyond in his preparation.
“Your senior year your back’s up against the wall,” Wojcik said. “He was on a mission.” (NWHerald 3/12/13)
NWHerald Wrestling All Area Team
Grant Sutton (40-4)
Richmond-Burton, so., 120 pounds
Sutton placed fifth at state in Class 2A and had tournament wins at Richmond-Burton, Harvard, Palatine and the Hampshire Regional.
Cameron Kennedy (44-1)
Richmond-Burton, sr., 126 pounds
Kennedy, the Northwest Herald Wrestler of the Year, won the title in 2A with a last second reversal of Montini’s Jordan Laster in the finals. In other tournaments, Kennedy won at Richmond-Burton, Palatine, Harvard and the Hampshire Regional.
Garrett Sutton (38-0)
Richmond-Burton, jr., 152 pounds
Sutton won the 152 state championship in 2A with a late third period takedown to defeat Sycamore’s Austin Culton in the finals. Sutton’s undefeated run included tournament wins at Richmond-Burton, Harvard, the Hampshire Regional and Antioch Sectional. (NWHerald 3/12/13)
Kennedy brothers will reunite at Michigan
Living in his older brother’s shadow almost caused Cameron Kennedy to walk away from his wrestling career before it began.
The temptation was understandable. Jimmy Kennedy won two state championships at Grant, where he won 187 of his 190 matches before graduating in 2006. That success preceded four years at the University of Illinois, where he finished in the top five at the NCAA championships three times, earning All-America honors for each.
From afar, Jimmy worried about his younger brother’s attempts to keep pace. What he didn’t know, though, was that Cameron, who won this year’s Class 2A 126-pound state championship for Richmond-Burton, was secretly using Jimmy’s wrestling achievements to help define his own.
First to a state wrestling championship and then to a college career in the Big Ten.
“As jealous as you could get, he’s more of an idol to me,” said Cameron, who committed to wrestle at Michigan on Mon-day night. “Just to go to the places he’s
gone would be kind of nice and just do big things like he has.”
Cameron always took note of how Jimmy took care of his wrestling business, watching the moves he used to dominate his opponents in high school. When Jimmy would lose a match at Illinois, Cameron noticed how his older brother would learn from his mistakes, helping shape his own high school career.
From afar, Jimmy was careful to not over-step his bounds. He wanted to assist Cameron as much as he could, but he also wanted his younger brother to be able to create his own identity. That wouldn’t be easy if he would have stayed at Grant, where he would have constantly been held up to his brother’s standard.
Following that path caused Cameron to contemplate his future – one he considered without wrestling.
“He didn’t feel comfortalbe wrestling at Grant and wrestling behind me,” Jimmy said Wednesday night. “He put so much pressure on himself that it was almost stopping him from succeeding.”
Rather than quitting, Cameron decided to move in with relatives in Richmond, where he could carve out his own path. His brother’s success could serve as a guide without getting in the way of Cameron becoming his own wrestler.
Even though Cameron was at a different school, he still managed to carry on the family tradition.
“He’s always been known as Jimmy Kennedy’s little brother,” R-B wrestling coach Bret Wojcik said. “With some of that, I’m sure you get sick of it a little bit and you’re always trying to get out of Jimmy’s shadow, but at the same time, it’s great for Cam to learn from somebody who had so much success.”
Cameron improved throughout his career, leading to this year, when he went 44-1. He captured the 2A state championship when he scored a last-second reversal against Montini’s Jordan Laster to pull out a 3-2 victory. In Ann Arbor, Jimmy watched a webcast of the match and broke down when Cameron won a title in his final match at R-B.
The brotherly support system will continue at Michigan, where Jimmy works as an assistant coach with the university’s Cliff Keen club wrestling program. Having his brother there, Cameron said, was a major factor in choosing to go away to Ann Arbor for school. Cameron said he had interest from Indiana, Penn State and Northwestern as well as from smaller programs at Northern Michigan and Eastern Michigan.
Competing in the Big Ten has always been a goal for Kennedy, again using Jimmy’s time in the league as a roadmap. Throughout the recruiting process, Jimmy offered support, making it clear that Cameron had to go where he felt was best. At Michigan, Cameron found a successful wrestling program and a school where he could receive a quality education. Having his brother there for support was an added bonus.
Cameron’s college choice not only provides a bright future for wrestling, but reunites him with a brother who has been gone for the past eight years. Reuniting at Michigan will give Cameron the chance to learn from his older brother first-hand while also allowing the two siblings to rebuild a relationship that time and miles has put restrictions on since Jimmy left for college.
“Now that I’m going to be able to spend so much time with him and watch over him when he needs it, I think it’s a kind of redemption almost,” Jimmy said. “It’s definitely different, but it’s awesome.” (NWHerald 3/7/12)
Champs value Wojcik's guidance
Old Dominion freshman Jack Dechow never lost faith as he watched his former Richmond-Burton teammates, Cameron Kennedy and Garrett Sutton, in the state individual wrestling tournament via live stream Saturday night.
Both were losing in the final minute, but Dechow, watching in his dormitory room in Norfolk, Va., had a feeling. He knew Kennedy and Sutton had the training and talent to pull out a championship. He also knew that Rockets coach Bret Wojcik had them mentally prepared.
“Coach [Wojcik] says, ‘Wrestle to compete, don’t wrestle to win.’ ” said Dechow, the Class 2A 182-pound state champion a year ago. “When you’re competing, you’re thinking about taking 100 shots, taking it to kids, wrestling to the buzzer. That’s when you wrestle your best.”
Sure enough, Kennedy scored a takedown just before time expired and beat Montini’s Jordan Laster, 3-2. Sutton got a takedown with less than 30 seconds remaining and held on to defeat Sycamore’s Austin Culton, 5-4.
In nine seasons as R-B’s head coach, Wojcik has coached wrestlers to six individual state championships – Jordan Blanton (2005, ’06 and ’08), Dechow and now Kennedy and Sutton. Wojcik made such an impression with Dechow and Blanton, who now wrestles at Illinois, that they both consider him a friend for life.
“I told Woj that the way they won was exactly what I got out of being an R-B wrestler,” said Blanton, who was at Illinois’ Assembly Hall, sitting with Rockets fans for the tournament. “Our motto’s ‘Relentless.’ It’s about wrestling the whole six minutes. It was great.”
It’s funny how Wojcik, a football guy at Glenbard East and Wisconsin-Platteville, who used high school wrestling as “offseason training,” now is full metal wrestling all the way.
“I really fell in love with wrestling later,” Wojcik said. “I wish I’d gotten into it more in high school.”
Wrestling, however, did make an impact with Wojcik at East, particularly through assistant coach Kevin Carlson. Wojcik graduated in 1998, Carlson took over as head coach the next year and remains as head coach. The two are so close now that Carlson will serve as best man in Wojcik’s wedding this summer.
“That always stuck with me, that he wanted to have that lasting relationship with his former coach,” Blanton said.
Blanton and Dechow regard Wojcik just like Wojcik looked to Carlson. They admire how hard he works and how he shows the same attitude toward a junior-varsity wrestler as he would a star. With all his wrestlers, Wojcik preaches visualization and a positive mental attitude. He says he learned a lot about that aspect of the sport from Carlson.
“I have the same format for all the kids who have that potential and tweak it to fit their personality,” Wojcik said. “Jack and Jordan gave me a lot of feedback. Garrett and Cam are a little quieter. It’s making them realize the little things that helped give our guys the edge and our conditioning and things like that.”
Dechow, who was state runner-up as a sophomore and junior, says his discussions about the mental side with Wojcik pushed him over the top to win as a senior.
“It’s always staying mentally strong, don’t let anybody get in your head,” Dechow said. “The only person who can beat you is yourself. He could always tell when I have a problem and we would talk. You try not to let it come into the wrestling room.”
Wojcik came to R-B as an assistant in the 2003-04 school year and took over as head coach the next season, Blanton’s freshman year. Blanton won three state championships, lost one match and finished fifth in the NCAA tournament at 174 pounds last year. Blanton still values Wojcik’s input.
“He’s probably the most motivating coach I’ve ever had in my life,” Blanton said. “I plan on being around the sport of wrestling the rest of my life and I’ll pick his brain and find out how he did such a good job pushing my buttons.”
• Joe Stevenson is a senior sports writer for the Northwest Herald. He can be reached by email at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @nwh_JoePrepZone. (2/18/13)
Garret Sutton's match is at the 2:50 mark.
Cameron Kennedy is at the 1:57 mark.
Grant Sutton's Fifth place victory is at 19:30 on this link:
Congrats to local athletes on a great weekend
Our three local wrestling state champs all come from the Big Northern Conference and they led the way to a big weekend.
Richmond-Burton's Cameron Kennedy, Class 1A - 126, and Garrett Sutton, 152, both made it to the top of the podium for the Rockets. Harvard's Anthony Luis, Class 1A - 106, took the top spot for the Hornets.
Congrats to all the other wrestlers who competed this weekend. (2/17/13)
3 local wrestlers crowned state champs
CHAMPAIGN – Richmond-Burton’s Cameron Kennedy and Garrett Sutton and Harvard’s Anthony Luis made lasting memories Saturday at Assembly Hall.
All three won championships in the IHSA Individual Wrestling State Tournament on the University of Illinois campus.
Kennedy at 126 pounds and Sutton at 152 in Class 2A pulled out last-second wins. Kennedy got a reversal against Montini’s Jordan Laster as time was expiring to earn a 3-2 decision. Sutton got a takedown with less than 30 seconds left in his match and rode out Sycamore’s Austin Culton to win, 5-4.
Kennedy (44-1) avenged his only loss of the season; Laster had defeated him in the Antioch Sectional finals. Saturday’s match was scoreless through two periods. Culton gave up an escape to Sutton and then got a takedown with less than 30 seconds remaining to go up, 2-1.
Laster appeared in control on top as Kennedy was flailing for the escape. Instead, Kennedy turned Laster for the win.
“I got scared and just started doing whatever I could,” Kennedy said. “I was scared for myself.”
It was also redemption for Kennedy, who placed the previous three seasons and took second last year.
“After coming so close these last few years, I just wouldn’t let it go,” Kennedy said.
Getting beat by Laster at sectionals also was good motivation to put in the extra work, physically and mentally.
“It’s so easy to give up,” Kennedy said. “I’ve never worked harder in the practice room. I wasn’t going to lose again.”
Sutton had come close to taking down Culton throughout the match but either couldn’t quite finish or ran out of room on the edge of the mat. With the match winding down, Sutton finally connected, grabbed Culton’s ankle and flipped him down.
“I saw an opportunity open up and I took my shot,” Sutton said. “That’s when it really hit me (that) I have a chance to win this match.”
Sutton (38-0) said the tough match was what he expected from Culton (43-1).The third-period heroics were set up by a season of hard work and conditioning.
See complete article @ http://www.mchenrycountysports.com/articles/2013/02/17/r_dsmh5rm_rjme8ot9ahdctg/ (NWHerald 2/17/13)
Four advance to finals
CHAMPAIGN – Richmond-Burton’s Cameron Kennedy, a senior, has placed each of his three previous years at the state final.
Last year, he lost in the final. On Friday, he made it back to the finals with a hard-fought, 1-0, win against Chicago Bowen’s Rudolph Johnson in the 126-pound Class 2A semifinal.
The first period looked more like slap fighting than wrestling as both wrestlers battled with their hands. Kennedy said the referee warned them in the second period to cut it out or he would toss both wrestlers. After the warning, Kennedy put out his hand to shake as a gesture of starting over.
“We were going at it. It was a battle,” Kennedy said. “I don’t know if [Johnson] wanted to shake my hand or not.”
Johnson gave an escape to Kennedy to start the second period for the match’s only point and Kennedy rode out Johnson in the third.
Kennedy will face Montini’s Jordan Laster in the championship in a rematch of the Antioch Sectional final where Laster won, 6-4.
Garrett Sutton, Kennedy’s teammate and cousin, also advanced to the finals at 152 with a 19-3 technical fall against East Moline’s Tanner Schuldt. Sutton will see an old friend in the championship in Sycamore’s Austin Culton.
The two wrestled club together but have never met on the mat as they were never in the same weight class.
“We’re not going to act like friends out there,” Sutton said.
This will be Sutton’s first time in the final, but the experience is not foreign to him as a spectator.
“I’ve been watching it for eight or nine years,” Sutton said. “It’s not as scary as it used to be.”
After a one and done state finals experience last year, McHenry’s Wade Lardy became the first area 3A wrestler to make it to a championship match at state. Lardy beat Lake Park’s Austin Schoen, 5-3, in the 145 semifinal.
Warriors coach Will Gaddy said a key to the match was Lardy riding out Schoen in the second period. Lardy got a late third period takedown to put the match away.
“It was tough riding that kid,” Gaddy said of Schoen. “I think riding him out like that was huge.”
Schoen is ranked No. 3 by Illinoismatmen.com and Lardy is No. 7. In the Barrington Sectional championship, Lardy beat No. 2-ranked Justin Weber from Stevenson.
“Wade just keeps knocking off top ranked kids,” Gaddy said.
Lardy’s toughest challenge may be in the finals where he will see undefeated Bryce Brill (48-0) from Mount Carmel. Brill major decisioned Lardy (44-2) earlier this season.
Harvard’s Anthony Luis advanced to the finals at 106 in 1A with a 5-3 win against Zach Lorek from McNamara. Lorek struck first with a first period takedown but the match was tied 2-2 heading into the third period. After an escape by Lorek to start the third and a stalling call against him to tie the score back up, Luis hit a takedown with less than 10 seconds remaining to win.
In the first period, Luis said he learned that he was going to have difficulty taking down Lorek by shooting at his legs. The third period saw Luis go to plan B and locked onto Lorek’s upper body to take him down.
“At the beginning of the match I was learning what [Lorek] was doing,” Luis said. “I went to the second tier move.”
Hornets coach Tim Haak said he likes Luis’ chances late in close matches.
“[Luis] handles things well mentally and emotionally,” Haak said. “He just stayed aggressive. We want him in those flurries.”
Luis will see undefeated Cody Minnick (47-0) from Coal City in the championship match. At state last year, Luis (39-6) defeated Minnick in the semifinal wrestle backs, 3-1 in overtime.
Also in Class 2A, Crystal Lake Central’s Andrew Marsden was taken down in overtime in his 6-4 semifinal loss to East Moline’s Markus Murphy. In 3A, Prairie Ridge’s Travis Piotrowski lost a, 6-3, decision to Plainfield South’s Miguel Silva in the semifinals. Crystal Lake South’s Nick Gil got pinned by Glenbard North’s Jered Cortez in the 126 semifinal.
Marsden, Piotrowski and Gil move to the consolation semifinals and are guaranteed a top six place. (NWHerald 2/16/13)
ROUNDUP: 15 local wrestlers win openers at state
Local wrestlers won 15 of 36 first-round matches Thursday in the state finals at Assembly Hall in Champaign.
Crystal Lake Central advanced four wrestlers in Class 2A. Kyle Fugiel (145) and Mike Zelasco (160) won decisions, Andrew Marsden (170) had a third-period pin, and Darwin Stone (220) won by major decision.
Richmond-Burton’s Cameron Kennedy (126) won by major decision and Garrett Sutton (152) won by technical fall. Also in 2A, Marian Central’s Nick Remke (138) won by pin, Johnsburg’s Christian Nugent (195) won a decision, and Marengo’s John Lesiak was pushed to the limit but won in an ultimate tiebreaker.
Wrestlers who lost in the first round will have to wait to find out if they are eligible for the consolation wrestlebacks. A first-round loser advances to the back draw only if the wrestler who beat him reaches the semifinals. (NWHerald 2/14/13)
For complete article see:
By ROB SMITH - firstname.lastname@example.org
The individual wrestling state finals begin today at Assembly Hall in Champaign for 36 area qualifiers.
That number is up from 31 qualifiers last year, but this will be the first time in three years no area wrestler has entered the state tournament as a defending champion. Last year saw three win state championships, but all were seniors.
McHenry County has established itself as a hotbed of wrestling talent with 16 state championships the past five years. Crystal Lake Central was a large part of that with 10 of those titles in four years.
And while there has been some impressive performances this season, no one enters the state tournament as an overwhelming favorite. Whether someone can step up to keep the championship streak alive will be interesting to watch.
Here’s a look at some possible state contenders from each of the three classes.
Class 2A: Richmond-Burton’s Garrett Sutton (152) and Crystal Lake Central’s Andrew Marsden (170) enter state as Antioch Sectional champions and No. 2 seeds.
Sutton (34-0) is looking to improve on his third-place performance last year. Also returning state place winners from the Rockets are Cameron Kennedy (third) and Grant Sutton (fifth). Kennedy has placed in each of his three previous seasons.
Marsden qualified for state for the first time with an impressive pinning performance at the Hampshire Regional and Antioch Sectional. He won by pin in his five matches.
See complete article @ http://www.mchenrycountysports.com/articles/2013/02/13/r_sbnjpkflseaoclhrdssj_q/index.xml
Grant Sutton~Richmond-Burton, so.~Weight: 120
Record: 37-2~Rank: No. 2
Tournaments: Richmond-Burton – first; Harvard – first; Palatine – second.
Hampshire Regional: First
Antioch Sectional: Second
State finals: Sutton will meet B.J. McGhee (41-1) in the first round who handed Sutton one of his two losses this season. McGhee is ranked No. 1 but placed third at the Rochelle Sectional after a loss to Morris’ Kenny Baldridge in the semifinals. (NWHerald 2/14/13)
Cameron Kennedy~Richmond-Burton, sr.~Weight: 126
Record: 40-1~Rank: No. 1
Tournaments: Richmond-Burton – first; Harvard – first; Palatine – first.
Hampshire Regional: First
Antioch Sectional: Second
State finals: Kennedy goes against East Peoria’s Casey McWhirter (25-6). McWhirter is ranked No. 10 and placed third at the Rochelle Sectional. (NWHerald 2/14/13)
Garrett Sutton~Richmond-Burton, jr.~Weight: 152
Record: 34-0~Rank: No. 2
Tournaments: Richmond-Burton – first; Harvard – first.
Hampshire Regional: First
Antioch Sectional: Second
State Finals: Garrett Sutton is the No. 2 seed and will face Oak Forest’s Patrick Kristin (25-13). Kristin placed fourth at the Rich East Sectional. (NWHerald 2/14/13)
Qualifiers: There were 36 area wrestlers who qualified for the state finals with top-four finishes in sectional tournaments Saturday. By Class, there were four in 1A, 20 in 2A and 12 in 3A. By place, there were five champions, 10 runners up, 12 thirds and nine fourth places.
Sectional champions were Luis in 1A, Richmond-Burton’s Garret Sutton at 152 and Crystal Lake Central’s Andrew Marsden (170) in 2A and Cary-Grove’s Michael Cullen (113) and McHenry’s Wade Lardy (145) in 3A.
The consolation semifinals were the sectional elimination rounds. Winning sends wrestlers into the third-place match and losing ends the season. In those critical matches, area wrestlers were 20-7.
Class 3A’s 12 qualifiers is the most in that class since wrestling split into three classes in the 2008-2009 school year. Last year in 3A, there were eight qualifiers. Cullen, Lardy and Crystal Lake South’s Nick Gil are the only returning state qualifiers in 3A.
In all classes, 13 of the 36 area state qualifiers also qualified last year.
There are five returning state place winners who are looking to improve or repeat their finish from last year. Luis was fourth at 106 in 1A last year. In 2A, Richmond-Burton’s Grant Sutton (fifth at 106), Cameron Kennedy (third at 120) and Garrett Sutton (third at 138) all return to state. Cullen (fourth at 106) returns in 3A.
Also, coming one match from placing last year were Johnsburg’s Branden Peshek, who lost in an ultimate tiebreaker in the quarterfinal wrestlebacks, and Gil, who also lost in the quarterfinal wrestlebacks.
That was no decision: Marsden dominated in winning his sectional title, but the IHSA results did not report the correct score. The official results had Marsden winning by decision in the semifinals and finals at Antioch. In reality, Marsden recorded a second-period pin against Wauconda’s Alex Schwickrath in the semis. In the finals, Marsden pinned Montini’s Michael Maduko in the third period.
Schwickrath is ranked No. 12 and Maduko is No. 3. Marsden (39-4) is ranked No. 2 and has five pins in his five regional and sectional matches.
At Assembly Hall in Champaign
2:30 p.m. Thursday
8:30 a.m. Friday
9 a.m. Saturday
Thirty six area wrestlers will be competing in the individual state tournament.
– Rob Smith, email@example.com (NWHerald 2/13/13)
Wrestling: Sectional Preview
by Rob Smith
With the first round of the state wrestling series concluded, 86 local wrestlers will look to qualify for the state finals at sectional meets today and Saturday.
Wrestlers need to place in the top four in their weight class to qualify for state Feb. 14 to 16 at Assembly Hall in Champaign.
Class 2A produced the most sectional qualifiers with 42 competing at the Antioch Sectional...................
Richmond-Burton’s Cameron Kennedy at 126 is the only No. 1-ranked wrestler in the area. He has placed at state each of his previous three seasons, two for the Rockets and for Class 3A Grant as a freshman. Kennedy (39-0) is confident, but he knows the tough road he has ahead.
“I just feel like this is my year,” Kennedy said. “I know it’s going to get tougher and tougher.”
Kennedy could meet Montini’s Jordan Laster, the No. 2-ranked wrestler, in the finals at Antioch.
“We have a real tough sectional,” Kennedy said. “Before state, you want to get as many tough matches as you can.”
Grant Sutton, Kennedy’s cousin, could also see tough competition at sectionals from Montini. Sutton, ranked No. 2, could see the Broncos’ Vince Turk (No. 3) in the finals. Sutton won a tough regional final against Johnsburg’s Branden Peshek who is ranked ninth.
“It starts off my state series pretty good,” Sutton said. “I get a taste of what’s going to happen. It shows I need to start picking up my game.”
Garrett Sutton is the No. 2-ranked wrestler at 152 for the Rockets and could also see a Montini competitor in the finals in Luke Fortuna (No. 5).
“I’ve been peaking lately in the wrestling room,” Garrett Sutton said. “I’m looking forward to pushing the pace.”
For complete article see:
Skyhawk, Rocket grapplers place second, third at Regionals
It’s that point in the season when it’s time to perform at the top of your abilities or go home, as there are no second chances. That’s because the area wrestling teams have entered the postseason tournament, where you either qualify to keep your season’s alive by advancing on or start looking forward towards next year.
Fortunately for the Johnsburg and Richmond-Burton wrestling teams, they both had several wrestlers step things up at the right time to prolong their seasons and represent their teams in a positive way. They both participated in IHSA Class 2A Regionals Feb. 2nd hosted by Hampshire High School.
By the conclusion, it was the Skyhawks that came away as the runner-up at the event with a team score of 101 points as the Rockets weren’t far behind in third place at 97.50 out of eight teams.
For the fifth consecutive year now, Crystal Lake Central took home the first-place crown with a commanding top score of 173 as they landed five individual titles along the way.
The top three individuals within each of the respective weight classes advance onto the IHSA Sectionals Feb. 9th in Antioch. With the above said, the Skyhawks qualified five individuals for the sectionals by having two firsts, a pair of seconds and a third, while the Rockets will be represented by five wrestlers including three of them coming away with titles and one each with a second and a third placing.
Johnsburg wrestlers to be crowned the best of their weight classes were seniors Christian Nugent and Brandon Boyle at 195 pounds and heavyweight. Both Nugent and Boyle went 2-0 with a bye at the meet to improve to 30-3 and 25-6 on the year.
Richmond sophomore Grant Sutton, his senior cousin Cameron Kennedy and junior brother Garrett Sutton also secured titles at 120, 126 and 152 pounds. Gr. Sutton was 2-0 with a bye to move to 35-1 as Kennedy pushed his mark to an impressive 39-0 after going 2-0 with a bye and Ga. Sutton was 3-0 on the day to increase his perfect season to 31-0.
Nugent proceeded his bye with a victory in the semifinals and then escaped Crystal Lake Central’s Brent Pfaff for a competitive 1-0 win in the finals. Following a bye, Boyle began with a pin over Marian Central’s Gavin Dineen in 1:09 of the semifinals and then made CLC’s Nathan Baginski fall in 3:20 of the championship bout.
Gr. Sutton’s title run consisted of following up a bye with a pin against CLC’s Ian Zeiller in 1:37 of the semis and then slipped past Johnsburg’s Branden Peshek by a slim 3-2 decision in the finals. Kennedy was well rested following his opening bye, as he recorded a 19-2 technical fall over Hampshire’s Kris Johnson in the semifinals and finished things off with a fall in 3:59 against Johnsburg’s Brian McKay in the championship match.
Ga. Sutton had to work a little harder for his title as he had to wrestle all three matches including pinning Hampshire’s Joe McAlpin in 1:17 of the quarterfinals. He accomplished the same over Woodstock North’s Rob Davis in 1:23 of the semifinals and rounding the day out with a 9-3 victory against Marengo’s Damon Cloe in the finals.
Johnsburg sophomore Peshek and senior McKay took home runner-up finishes at 120 and 126 pounds, as their only defeats came in the finals. Each wrester was 2-1 at the meet, as Peshek moved to 30-6 and McKay to 27-8 on the season.
Peshek pinned Woodstock’s Fernando Olivas in 1:44 of the first round, made Woodstock North’s Ben Brucki fall in 5:54 of the second only to fall by a mere point at 3-2 to R-B’s Gr. Sutton in the finals. McKay opened with pin in a mere 51 seconds over Marengo’s Bailey Miller and then doubled up CLC’s Mike Peterson 4-2, before being pinned himself by RB’s Kennedy in 3:59 of the title hilt.
The only other second-place finish came from R-B senior Zach Schuler (15-8), who went 2-1 on the day at 132 pounds. He pinned MC’s Emitt Piesert in 1:45 of the quarters, got past Woodstock’s Thomas Rodriguez 5-4 in the semis and was then pinned by CLC’s Logan Lundelius in the championship.
Two other wrestlers qualified for the sectionals by placing third including Johnsburg senior DJ Leppien at 160 pounds and Richmond junior Vince Battaglia at 220. Leppien (10-20) was 3-1 at the meet and Battaglia (5-13) was 1-1 with two byes on the day, as they each won their third-place matches by way of pins.
Just missing keeping their seasons alive by moving on with fourth-place finishes were Richmond senior Huber Herrera (12-14) at 113 pounds, Johnsburg freshman Brandon Hasenbuhler (5-12) at 106, sophomore Nash Miller (9-14) at 132, sophomore Eric Wagner (4-22) at 182 and freshman David Mueller (11-13) at 220. (The Report 2/7/13)
Hampshire Regional: Winning regional titles were RB's Grant Sutton (120), Cameron Kennedy (126) & Garrett Sutton (152)
Harvard Triangular: @ Harvard, the host Hornets defeated RB, (54-20, & GK, 80 minus 1, in two BNC wins. Anthony Luis (106), Mark Struck (113), Irvin Pena (126), Travis Heck (152/16), Zack Martin (195) & Adam Freimund (285) each hada win & a forfeit in two matches for the Hornets (23-3). The Rockets defeated GK, 36-12. Grant Sutton (120), Cameraon Kennedy (138), Garrett Sutton (152) & Vince Battaglia (220/285) went 2-0 on the day for the Rockets, with Garett Sutton recording two pins, both in less than two minutes. (NWHerald 1/25/13)
@ Richmond, Garrett Sutton won by pin @ 152 pounds for RB in a BNC loss. (NWHerald 1/26/13)
@ Gurnee, Grant Sutton @ 120 & Cameron Kennedy (126) had three wins each for RB in a win against Marian Central, 31-24, & losses to Warren, 43-14, & Grayslake Central 48-25. (NWHerald 1/20/13)
Rocket grapplers land their first team victory
By Todd Rohde~CORRESPONDENT
It has been kind of a strange setup this season for the Richmond-Burton wrestling team as due to the lack of numbers out for the program, they have been forced to compete short-handed all year long. Although this has not deterred or dampened the spirits of the wrestlers who are taking to the mat on a consistent basis, it’s just been difficult to judge their success based on overall team scores following meets as they can be a little deceiving.
In fact despite all of the individual success that the Rockets have had at various weight classes this year, they have finally attained their first victory as a team this week. They accomplished just that Jan. 5, as they participated in the Grayslake North Quad Meet.
“Our goal every year is to get as many kids to sectionals from the regional, and as many kids out of the sectional and downstate,” Rocket head coach Bret Wojcik said. “Cameron, Garrett and Grant all have great chances of making it to State as long as they keep wrestling the way they have been. We also have a couple of other wrestlers who have a shot at making it to sectionals if they keep working hard in practice and gain some positive momentum toward the end of the year.”
After being defeated by the host Knights by a 63-13 difference in the opening round, the Rockets went on to return the favor by getting the best of Roosevelt by a 27-18 margin in the next round bout. Richmond’s success stemmed from the fact that they had three different wrestlers post victories in both of the matches at the event.
They came from the likes of senior Huber Herrera at 113 pounds, sophomore Grant Sutton at 120 pounds and senior Cameron Kennedy within the 132-weight class, all going 2-0 on the day. Kennedy is now an impressive 28-0 overall on the season, as he recorded both of his wins at the meet by way of falls in 2:54 and 1:35.
Sutton also boosted his mark on the year to 25-1, as he won by a 15-4 decision against Grayslake North and followed it up with a pin in 44 seconds in his match against Roosevelt. Herrera’s victories both came from decisions, as he first posted a 7-1 win and then rounded things out by doubling up his Roosevelt opponent by a 4-2 difference.
After both suffering defeats in their opening rounds against Grayslake, Richmond junior Raymond Heppner and junior Vincent Battaglia both rebounded with wins versus Roosevelt. Heppner was the recipient of a forfeit win at 195 pounds, as Battaglia pinned his foe in 54 seconds at the heavyweight position.
Just two days earlier in the week, the Rockets hosted their own Triangular Meet Jan. 3 at Richmond. Also taking part in the meet and providing the Rockets with some competition included the likes of Woodstock North and North Boone.
The Rockets were on the losing end of a 49-15 defeat by Woodstock, while they also dropped a low-scoring 11-3 showing to the Vikings. It proved to be a quick night of wrestling, as only nine matches took place between the schools, including six against Woodstock and only three with North Boone due to numerous forfeits.
Rockets winning their matches against Woodstock consisted of Herrera at 113, Sutton at 126 and Kennedy at 138, while Heppner was the only victor against North Boone. (Richmond~Spring Grove~Johnsburg Report 1/12/13)
@ Richmond, Woodstock N went 2-0, defeating RB, 59-15 & N Boone, 67-4. (NWHerald 1/4/13)
Near misses top local sports list
5. Trio wins state titles: Crystal Lake Central’s Gage Harrah, Richmond-Burton’s Jack Dechow and Harvard's Dan Stott were state wrestling champions.
Harrah (40-1) won the Class 2A 195-pound title with a 6-2 decision over Grayslake Central’s Joey Valdivia in the final match. It was Harrah’s second consecutive title. Dechow (33-0) pinned Bloomington’s Stephon Rudicil in 1:53 to complete his perfect season and win the Class 2A 182-pound title. (NWHerald 12/30/12)
For complete article see: http://www.mchenrycountysports.com/articles/2012/12/22/r_5z1as7qwtioslohabbsfw/index.xml
The 46th annual Sciacca/Holtfreter Tournament
By Andrew Hansen AnHansen@shawmedia.com
Harvard tied Richmond-Burton with three individual champions each....The Rockets’ three champions all were repeat champions from last year’s tournament. Grant Sutton took the 120-pound title with a fall, Cameron Kennedy won a 6-5 decision in the 132-pound final against a ranked opponent, and Garrett Sutton won by technical fall in the
152-pound final. The Rockets took 10th place with 86.5 points despite only having five wrestlers. Kennedy took the lower weight outstanding wrestler and Garrett Sutton won the upper weight outstanding wrestler.
See complete article @http://www.mchenrycountysports.com/articles/2012/12/16/r_mxg75y2eqqw1oshb9hmclw/index.xml (NWHerald 12/16/12)
Glenbard East Meet: @ Glenbard East, RB went 0-3 but saw some good performances. Cameron Kennedy won all three of his matches at 132 pounds, while brothers Garrett & Grant Sutton won all three of their matches on the afternoon at 120 & 152 pounds respectively. (NWHerald 12/9/12)
Tournament Success: Local wrestlers dominated the Tom Dubois Wrestling Classic at Richmond-Burton on Saturday, winning 11 of 14 weight classes. Jacobs, Johnsburg and the Rockets all had three champions.
In the only championship match featuring ranked opponents, R-B’s Grant Sutton (second) eked out a 2-0 win against Johnsburg’s Branden Peshek, the sixth ranked wrestler at 120. Sutton and Peshek are likely to meet several more times this season. (NWHerald 12/5/12)
State hopes a family matter in Richmond:
By Rob Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
RB brothers, cousin shooting for Champaign~For the first time since 2008, there are no reigning state wrestling champions on area rosters, but there are plenty of hopefuls, eager to earn a spot on the podium in February at Assembly Hall in Champaign.
Three of those hopefuls live in the same household and wrestle for Richmond-Burton.
Brothers Grant and Garrett Sutton and their cousin Cameron Kennedy, all placed in Class 2A state last year. Kennedy was third last season, second in 2011 and sixth in 2010 when he wrestled for Class 3A Grant.
Kennedy said he thinks that experience will serve him well in his senior year.
“I feel older, more mature,” Kennedy said. “This year could be my dominant year.”
Getting ready for state involves all the normal tough practices and facing stiff competition during the season, but Kennedy also is focusing on the mental aspect more this season.
“Clearing my mind,” Kennedy said was something he was working on. “It’s something in the sport of wrestling that’s really important. I’m going to be ready to go to Champaign.”
Garrett Sutton, a junior, took third last year at state and qualified as a freshman. One thing he has been working on during the offseason has been to be more aggressive, particularly on his feet.
“My hand fighting has gotten better,” Garrett Sutton said.
Grant Sutton, a sophomore, said because the R-B roster is pretty small this year, practice has become more efficient and he gets more coach time in the room. Living with two other potential state champions also has its benefits.
“We get stuff done faster. It’s more focused,” Grant Sutton said of practice. “They’re a huge inspiration to me,” he said about his brother and cousin.
R-B coach Bret Wojcik said the Suttons and Kennedy are in the same class as former Rockets state champions Jordan Blanton and Jack Dechow. What most impresses Wojcik is that their success has not gone to their heads.
“They’re right up there with the best of them,” Wojcik said of his current state place-winners. “They want to learn and get better.”
Cary-Grove’s Mike Cullen placed fourth in Class 3A state last season. He said he has only one goal this season – being the first Trojan to win an individual state championship in wrestling. While the ultimate goal is a given, he recognizes the importance of the season in getting there.
“Right now, I’m focusing on the big goal,” Cullen said. “Each match is like a stepping stone.”
Also in Class 2A, Johnsburg returns two state qualifiers – Branden Peshek and Christian Nugent. Crystal Lake Central also returns two qualifiers with Kyle Fugiel and Michael Zelasco. Damon Cloe qualified for Marengo last season.
In Class 3A, Crystal Lake South’s Nick Gil and McHenry’s Wade Lardy made the trip to state last season.
Harvard returns two Class 1A state qualifiers in Anthony Luis and Chance Shelton. Luis placed fourth at state last season at 106.
Fox Valley Conference: The competition to capture the FVC division crowns and the FVC Meet team championship should be fierce this season.
Cary-Grove and McHenry should be the teams to beat in the Valley Division. The Warriors are off to a 9-0 start, and the Trojans beat Crystal Lake South on Thursday.
Gators’ coach Ross Ryan said that McHenry and Cary-Grove are the teams to beat, but don’t rule out South, particularly in the FVC Meet.
“I think we can be a pretty tough tournament team,” Ryan said. “We’ll be ready to go by the end of the season.”
The Fox Division has no clear-cut favorite, but Johnsburg has a good shot after placing second in the Tom DuBois Classic on Saturday at Richmond-Burton, with only nine wrestlers. (NWHerald 12/3/12)
Tom DuBois Wrestling Classic:
By Rob Smith email@example.com
R-B’s Grant Sutton decisioned Johnsburg’s Branden Peshek in the 120 title match. The good friends wrestle in club together and have faced off against each other numerous times. Sutton was able to get a reverse to start the third period for the, 2-0 win.
“We’ve know each other for a while,” Sutton said. “We both knew what was coming.”
Also for the Rockets, Cameron Kennedy won at 132 and Garrett Sutton won at 152. Garrett Sutton was named the most outstanding wrestler for the heavyweight classes. (NWHerald 12/2/12)
See complete article @ http://www.mchenrycountysports.com/articles/2012/12/01/r_fb89a0ylsjsvziyjxjfiwq/
At Winnebago, Grant Sutton (126) and Cameron Kennedy (132) each had falls for the Rockets, with Garrett Sutton (152) recording a technical fall in 3:31 in a Big Northern Conference crossover loss. Winnebago 48, Richmond-Burton 23: (NWHerald 11/30/12)
Rocket grapplers are strong in experience, weak in numbers
By Todd Rohde
Over the past several years, the Richmond-Burton wrestling program has been known for its ability to be competitive and successful both as individuals and as a team out on the mat.
The Rockets will once again definitely be experienced and talented from an individual standpoint this year, but they may struggle a bit as a team due to a lack in numbers.
“We should be very tough individually this year, but unfortunately may struggle from a team standpoint due to the smaller numbers out for the program,” ninth-year head coach Bret Wojcik said.
Regardless one thing is for sure and that is that the Rockets will give it their all each and every time that they compete this season and will make their faithful supporters proud of their efforts.
Richmond has deservingly built up a positive reputation for themselves over the years and they will do their best to live up to that quality status.
The Rockets will have some big voids to fill, as they lost five quality seniors to graduations from a season ago. None will be missed more than that of Jack Dechow, who was a two-time State runner-up his sophomore and junior years before going undefeated at 34-0 last season in becoming only the fourth Rocket ever to capture a State title last year when he took home the 182-pound crown.
They also will be without the likes of Brett O’Kane, Matt Ellis, Nick Zelinsky and Jake Pauley.
The Rockets finished in second place within the conference a year ago, as they fell by a mere point to Harvard, They also were very competitive and placed well at many of the tournaments throughout the year including in the postseason.
On the bright side of things, of the 13 wrestlers that the Rockets have out for the program this year, four of them are returning State qualifiers including three of whom placed at the prestigious event. This year’s team consists of four seniors, five juniors and a pair of both sophomores and freshmen including senior Cameron Kennedy and junior Garrett Sutton serving as the team captains.
“As a team we need to set individual goals for each wrestler, as once again we will be much stronger individually than we will be as a team,” Wojcik said. “But our ultimate goal is always to bring back a couple of State medals at the end of the season.”
Kennedy, who will wrestle at 126/132 this year, finished third at State last year, was second at the event in 2011 and sixth in 2010. Sutton on the other hand, who will wrestle at 145/152 pounds this season, was third at State a year ago and a qualifier in 2011.
The Rockets will also be looking for some good things from Garrett’s younger brother Grant Sutton and Mike Hrdlicka. Sutton, a sophomore wrestling at 120 pounds, finished fifth last season at State as only a freshman and Hrdlicka, a junior taking to the mat at 138 pounds, was a State qualifier in 2011.
“Our biggest strength will be the leadership from Garrett and Cameron, as they are both hard workers on the mat and very technically sound from all positions,” Wojcik said. “My hope is that the other guys will feed off of their work ethic, as we only have 4-5 guys with true everyday varsity experience.”
As far as the conference goes this year, the Rockets will look to wrestle as hard as they can every day and see where they end up in the standings at the end of the season. The top teams to watch out for this year in the league will be Harvard and Burlington-Central.
The Rockets began practicing Nov. 5th and had been concentrating on techniques and strategies early on, while now they are picking up the tempo and intensity in their efforts.
“I would like to see us continue to build on our success and tradition of being a quality program over the years,” Wojcik said. “We like to build not only strong wrestlers on our team, but also strong men both on and off the mat. In order to have a good program, you need good kids to start with and I think that we have that at R-B.” (Richmond~Spring Grove~Johnsburg Report 11/24/12)
@ Crystal Lake, Grant Sutton (120) & Cameron Kennedy (126) got pins & Garrett Sutton (152) won by technical fall, but the Rockets didn't amass enough team points for a win. Prairie Ridge 40, RB 20 (NWHerald 11/22/12)
Team Wrestling Preview Capsule
Coach: Bret Wojcik (ninth season)
Last season: Second at Antioch Regional
Top returners: Grant Sutton (so., 120/126), Cameron Kennedy (sr., 126/132), Mike Hrdlicka (jr., 138), Garrett Sutton (jr., 145/152)
Key newcomers: Zach Schuler (sr., 132), Vince Battaglia (jr., 220)
Insider information: The Rockets will wrestle with a depleted lineup this season but return three state place-winners in Kennedy (third), Garrett Sutton (third) and Grant Sutton (fifth). Hrdlicka qualified in 2011. (NWHerald 12/3/12)