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2011 2012 Wrestling Season: State Recap

February 23, 2012
Richmond Burton High School

State recap: Of the 31 local wrestlers who qualified for state, 16 placed, including the three champions. There were three in 1A, eight in 2A and five in 3A. Wrestling: State Notes~Class 2A:

Only five place winners will not graduate this spring and return for another run at a state title. Harvard’s Anthony Luis placed fourth at 106 in 1A and is a sophomore.

Richmond-Burton will return three state place winners in freshman Grant Sutton, who was fifth at 106, junior Cameron Kennedy, who was third at 120, and sophomore Garrett Sutton, who was third at 138.

Cary-Grove freshman Mike Cullen was fourth in Class 3A at 106.

Overall, 13 of the 31 state qualifiers will return next season, including three freshmen, five sophomores and five juniors. (NWHerald 2/23/12)

Richmond-Burton’s Grant Sutton (106) and Cameron Kennedy (120) advanced to the quarterfinals today after consolation first round wins.

Rockets coach Bret Wojcik said the tournament has been a great experience for Sutton, a freshman.

“If he wins his next match (today), it will be a big confidence boost to him,” Wojcik said “He needs to know the potential he has.”

Also advancing was Johnsburg’s Brandon Pesheck (106). Sutton and Pesheck are on opposite sides of the consolation bracket and could potentially face each other in a place match. (NWHerald 2/18/12)

More chances to advance: Top-4 finishers in each sectional qualify for state

Local wrestlers advance @ state

By ROB SMITH - rsmith@shawmedia.com

CHAMPAIGN – More than half of the local wrestlers competing in the first round of the Individual State Tournament on Thursday advanced to the quarterfinals as the competition opened without any significant upsets.

Of the area’s 31 state qualifiers, 17 will advance to the quarterfinals today. The 14 who lost their opening-round matches will have to wait for the results from those quarterfinal matches to see if they move into the consolation bracket or are done. If their first-round opponent wins, the first-round losers move to the wrestlebacks with a chance at third place.

Crystal Lake Central’s Jason Fugiel, the top-ranked wrestler at 152 pounds in Class 2A by illinoismatmen.com, trailed, 6-2, heading into the final period. It was obvious that Bloomington’s Alex Alvis simply was trying to avoid a pin in the third. Fugiel prevailed and got the pin with 44 seconds left.

Also winning for the Tigers were Clay Lutzow (138) and Gage Harrah (195).

Also in Class 2A, Richmond-Burton’s Nick Zelinsky almost came away with what would have been the upset of the first day. Zelinsky lost to East Peoria’s Lucas Joseph, 5-4. Zelinsky was trying to get Joseph (42-0) on his back for the winning points when time expired.

R-B’s Cameron Kennedy defeated Cahokia’s Leslie Williams, 10-0, in the first round and faces Montini’s Kevon Powell in the quarterfinals. Powell is ranked No. 2 and Kennedy is third.

Also winning for the Rockets were Grant Sutton (106), Garrett Sutton (138), Brett O’Kane (160) and Jack Dechow (182). Also in 2A, Johnsburg’s Brandon Pesheck (106) moved on to the quarterfinals. (NWHerald 2/16/12)


Sectional numbers: There will be 31 wrestlers representing local schools at the IHSA Individual State Tournament today through Saturday in Champaign.

In addition, nine others will go as alternates and might get a chance to wrestle if a qualifier is not able to compete.

At sectionals, 11 of the 31 qualifiers won championships. At Byron, Dan Stott won at 170 for Harvard in Class 1A. Winners in Class 2A were Crystal Lake Central’s Clay Lutzow (138), Fugiel (152) and Gage Harrah (195) and Richmond-Burton’s Grant Sutton (106), Brett O’Kane (160) and Jack Dechow (182). Class 3A had four title winners – Cary-Grove’s Mike Cullen (106), Prairie Ridge’s Zach Synon (126), Crystal Lake South’s Tom Gerszewski (152) and Huntley’s Josh Symbal (182).

Among the qualifiers, seven have topped the 40-win mark – Stott (40-3), R-B’s Cameron Kennedy (40-1), Cullen (40-2), Prairie Ridge’s Eric English (40-10) and Synon (42-0) and South’s Nick Gil (40-6) and Gerszewski (40-1).

New math: Richmond-Burton qualified six wrestlers for sectionals out of the Antioch Regional but will send seven to state.

Nick Zelinsky, a sectional alternate, was a last-minute addition to the 220-pound Grayslake Central Sectional bracket after a qualifier did not make weight.

Zelinsky took advantage of the opportunity and placed fourth to qualify.

He won his first match but lost to Grayslake Central’s Jimmy Molitor, the eventual champion, in a 5-3 decision. Zelinsky came back in the consolation bracket to win three matches to qualify for state. In the consolation semifinal elimination match, he pinned Marengo’s John Lesiak.

This week’s top meet~IHSA Individual~State Tournament

At Assembly Hall in Champaign


2:30 p.m.: Class 1A first round

4:30 p.m.: Class 2A first round

6:30 p.m.: Class 3A first round


8:30 a.m.: Quarterfinals

1 p.m.: First round wrestlebacks

7 p.m.: Semifinals


9 a.m.: Quarterfinal wrestlebacks

11 a.m.: Semifinal wrestlebacks

1 p.m.: Fifth-place matches

5:30 p.m.: Third-place matches

7 p.m.: Championship matches

– Rob Smith rsmith@shawmedia.com (NWHerald 2/16/12)

More chances to advance: Top-4 finishers in each sectional qualify for state

By Rob Smith rsmith@shawmedia.com

For some wrestlers, sectional tournaments today and Saturday are a step toward achieving their overall goals. For others, it is their ultimate goal.

Local wrestlers who placed in the top three at regionals will compete in individual sectionals at Byron in Class 1A, Grayslake Central in 2A and Barrington in 3A. The top four place-winners in each class advance to the IHSA Individual State Tournament on Feb. 16-18 in Champaign.

Since the three-class system began in 2009, this will be the first time all three classes advance four places and 16 total to state. Previously, only 3A sent the top four, with 1A and 2A advancing the top three. Now, sectional winners in 1A and 2A will wrestle first-round matches instead of getting byes as in previous years, and the state tournament adds an extra day and begins on a Thursday.

As part of this rule change, the three classes were distributed more evenly this season as opposed to the past three years where Class 3A had almost 40 percent of the schools. Marian Central was the only area school affected by this change, and moved from 2A to 1A.

Here’s a look at the three individual sectional tournaments:

Class 3A: Fox Valley Conference Valley Division schools will send 26 wrestlers to the tough Barrington Sectional. The sectional’s 14 weight classes include 95 wrestlers who appear in Ilinoismatmen.com statewide rankings. Crystal Lake South leads local schools with seven qualifiers; McHenry has six.

Cary-Grove freshman Mike Cullen at 106 pounds, Prairie Ridge’s Zach Synon (126) and Crystal Lake South’s Tom Gerszewski (152) are all ranked No. 2 by the site and are the top-ranked wrestlers in their weight classes at the sectional.

Synon will face a familiar opponent in South’s Nick Gil, who is ranked No. 6. At the FVC Meet, Synon defeated Gil, 4-2. Gil is hoping for another chance against the undefeated Synon.

“I think I have that match visualized,” Gil said. “Now, I just have to go out and do it.”

Gerszewski, who won a regional title at Jacobs, has set some lofty goals this season.

“Obviously, I’m happy, but I’ll breathe a lot easier when I’m on top of that podium at the sectional and state meets,” Gerszewski said.

Cullen is ranked above Barrington’s Adrian Gonzalez, but Gonzalez has given Cullen his only two losses this season and won, 4-3, in the finals of the Stevenson Regional. Cullen could get another chance to avenge those losses in the finals Saturday.

Huntley’s Josh Symbal won his first regional title at 182 at Jacobs but is hungry for more.

“It was a nice personal victory and, hopefully, there are many more medals still yet to come,” Symbal said.

Class 2A: Crystal Lake Central sends 10 wrestlers to the Grayslake Central Sectional, which also promises to deliver tough competition. Six top-ranked wrestlers are set to compete at Grayslake, including the Tigers’ Clay Lutzow (138), Jason Fugiel (152) and Gage Harrah (195) and Richmond-Burton’s Jack Dechow (182).

Dechow and teammate Cameron Kennedy (120) enter sectionals undefeated. Kennedy could see No. 1 ranked Matt Garelli from Fenwick in the finals.

In what might be an all-area showdown in the finals at 138, Lutzow could face the Rockets’ Garrett Sutton, who is ranked fourth.

Class 1A: Harvard will send 13 wrestlers to the Byron Sectional, including Chance Shelton (120), Dan Stott (170) and Nathan Cowan (182), who were the Hornets’ only state qualifiers at the Oregon Sectional last season.

Stott, who claimed Harvard’s only sectional title last season, placed third the past two years at state and is ranked No. 1 at 170, is cautiously optimistic heading into sectionals.

“I just feel good,” Stott said. “Anything can happen, but I’m feeling pretty good going in.”

Cowan said he has been progressing all season and is calmer this year after qualifying for state last year with a third-place finish. He has possibly the toughest bracket in any class with the top four ranked wrestlers at Byron. Cowan is ranked fourth.

“I know I have one of the toughest brackets,” Cowan said. “I’m still looking for that first place.”

Marian Central sends 12 to Byron, led by regional winner Joe Klinger at 152. Alden-Hebron qualified two, including Pat Hooper, who took first at the Harvard Regional at 220. (NWHerald 2/10/12)


Noteworthy: Regional numbers: Eighty-nine area wrestlers qualified for sectional tournaments, set for Friday and Saturday, by placing in the top three at regionals. By class, 27 qualified in Class 1A, 36 in 2A and 26 in 3A.

In third-place elimination matches, area wrestlers had 21 wins and 24 losses. Class 1A area wrestlers were 8 of 8 in third-place matches. Pins were the overwhelming leader in how third-place matches were won with 14, followed by decisions with six and one major decision.

For area wrestlers in regional championship matches, there were 34 first-place finishes and 34 second-place finishes. By school, Harvard led with eight regional title winners, followed by Crystal Lake Central (six), Richmond-Burton (five), Marengo (four) and Crystal Lake South (three). (NWHerald 2/9/12)

Class 2A Antioch Regional:Grant Sutton (106), Cameron Kennedy (120), Garrett Sutton (138), Brett O'Kane (160) & Jack Dechow (182) won their championship matches for RB. The Rockets (160.5) finished second as a team. Matt Ellis (132) also advanced with a pin for his third place match for RB. (NWHerald 2/5/12)
RB Triangular: The host Rockets earned BNC wins over N Boone, 48-12 & BC 33-25. Garrett Sutton (138 lbs.), Jack Dechow (182) & Nick Zelinsky (195) each had a pin for RB. (NWHerald 1/28/12)
Class 2A Antioch Regional: Grant Sutton (106), Cameron Kennedy (120), Garrett Sutton (138), Brett O'Kane (160) & Jack Dechow (182) won their championship matches for RB. The Rockets (160.5) finished second as a team. Matt Ellis (132) also advanced with a pin for his third place match for RB. (NWHerald 2/5/12)
Harvard Wreslters wrap up BNC East
RICHMOND– The Harvard wrestling team captured the Big Northern Conference East Division title Thursday, narrowly defeating Richmond-Burton, 30-29, and overwhelming Genoa-Kingston, 79-0.
RB 36, Marengo 18: @ Richmond, Brett O'Kane (170 lbs.) won a 3-1 decision in overtime, Jack Dechow (182) won by technical fall, & Cameron Kennedy (126) recorded a second period fall for the Rockets in their BNC win. (NWHerald 1/20/12)
Round Lake Quad: RB went 3-0, defeating Crystal Lake S, 40-36, Zion-Benton, 29-27, & Fremd, 45-18. Nick Zelinsky (195) & Jack Dechow (182) each recorded three pins for the Rockets, with Grant Sutton (106), Cameron Kennedy (120), Garrett Sutton (138) & Brett O'Kane (160) also winning all three matches. Casey Callahan (113) & Tom Gerszewski (152) won by pin for South against RB. (NWHerald 1/15/12)
Grayslake North Quad: At Grayslake, RB defeated Grayslake N, 34-30, Roosevelt, 60-3, & St. Joeseph, 51-0 to win the meet. Ramiro Herrera (113 lbs), Cameron Kennedy (126) & Clayton McKimmy (152) had two pins apiece. (NWHerald 1/9/12)
RB 51, Woodstock N 12: @ Woodstock, Grant Sutton (106 lbs), Brett O'Kane (160, Nick Zelinsky, & Jake Pauly (285) all recorded pins for RB in its non-conference win. (NWHerald 1/6/12)
Berman Holiday Classic: @ Palatine, Cameron Kennedy (120 lbs) & Jack Dechow (182) each won championships for RB, as the Rockets took 7th out of 27 teams with 126 pts. (NWHerald 12/29/11)
Richmond Quadrangular: @ Richmond, Jack Dechow (182) won three matches, Garrett Sutton (138) won two matches, and RB beat Mundelein, 37-36, but lost to Kaneland, 39-22, & Woodstock, 31-24. (NWHerald 12/22/11)
Harvard JV Quardrangular: Alden Hebron's varsity wrestling team competed against JV teams in the meet. Justin Gricar (132 lbs) & Pat Hooper (285) each collected two pins to lead the Giants (2-5), who defeated RB, 36-18, but lost to Milton (Wis.), 48-18, and to Harvard 72-5. (NWHeradl 12/16/11)
@ Byron, Cameron Kennedy (126) & Garrett Sutton (145) each recored pins for the rockets in a BNC loss. Mike Hrdlicka (132) & Zach Schuler (138) each won by decision for RB. Byron 58, RB 18 (NWHerald 12/7/11)
Carmel Duals: @ Mundelein, Grant Sutton collected two pins, a technical fall & a forfeit to lead RB. The Rockets beat Waukega, 28-12, but lost to Marian Central, 54-18, Carmel Catholic, 48-27, & Round Lake, 54-23. (NWHerald 11/27/11)
@ Crystal Lake: Marc Kuchelmuss pinned RB's Luke Brinkmen in their 132 pound match. The Rockets' Cameron Kennedy beat Eric English from Prairie Ride, 5-1, in their 120 pound match, & Grant Sutton (138) won by fall over Ryan Skiermanski to lead RB. PR 47, RB 21 (NWHerald 11/24/11)
2011 2012 Wrestling Preview Capsule~~Richmond-Burton
Coach: Bret Wojcik (eighth season)
Last season: BNC champion. Grayslake North Regional champion.
Top returners: Mike Hrdlicka (so., 113), Cameron Kennedy (jr., 120), Matt Ellis (sr., 126), Garrett Sutton (so., 138), Brett O’Kane (sr., 160), Jack Dechow (sr., 182).
Key newcomers: Grant Sutton (fr., 106), Trace Von Bruenchenhein (jr., 145), Clayton McKimmy (fr., 152), Nick Zelinsky (sr., 195), Jake Pauly (sr., 285).
Insider information: “We have a good group of kids returning and a good group of underclassmen filling in,” Wojcik said. “If they mesh well together, we could have a pretty good year.” (NWHerald)
Tommy Larkin (126 pounds) helped the Hornets secure the win against R-B, recording a pin in 1:35 in the second-to-last match of the meet. Tyler Kramer (145) also had a pin for Harvard, recording his in 3:17.
Garrett Sutton (138) won by technical fall for the Rockets against Harvard, as Jack Dechow (182) and Brett O’Kane (160) both won by major decision.
Tyler Kramer, Brad Lovell (152), Matt Wheeler (160/170) and Nathan Cowan (182/195) each went 2-0 on the day for the Hornets.
R-B defeated Genoa-Kingston, 59-15, as Dechow, O’Kane, Garrett Sutton, Grant Sutton (138), Nick Zelinsky (195/220), and Jake Pauly (285) went 2-0 for the Rockets.

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