Wrestling: Fenwick’s Garelli captures captures title

Updated: February 11, 2012 11:32PM

Matt Garelli never lost his confidence or his aggressive manner. “I was just going for take downs,” the senior Fenwick 120-pound wrestler said.

In a showdown between elite undefeated wrestlers, Garelli recorded a take down in overtime for the dramatic 8-6 victory over Richmond-Burton junior Cameron Kennedy in the marquee event of the Class 2A Grayslake Central sectional Saturday.

Garelli won the Class 3A 103-pound individual state title last year. Kennedy finished runner-up in the same weight in Class 2A. In fighting back from a 4-1 first period deficit, Garelli snapped Kennedy’s unbeaten mark of 40-0.

Just as remarkably, Garelli ran his mark to 19-0 and underlined his strength and perseverance in returning from a December surgery where he had his right meniscus repaired. Garelli’s reversal in the third period gave him a 6-5 lead. Kennedy forced overtime when he maneuvered an escape.

Garelli sensed he was in command. “I could see that he was getting tired, both by the sounds he was making on the mat and the fact his footwork was not as good as it was at the start of the match,” he said. “I faked one way, made a move and got my single-leg and I realized there he knew he was beat.”

Antioch, Crystal Lake Central and Richmond-Burton each captured three sectional titles. Notre Dame won two. Richmond-Burton (7) and Notre Dame (7) led with the number of advancing individuals. Antioch advanced six wrestlers and Crystal Lake Central five.

Crystal Lake Central’s 195 star Gage Harrah (37-1), who won the 2A title last year at 189, used a first period takedown and cradle to grab the early 5-0 lead in his 14-6 major decision over Grayslake Central’s Joey Valvidia. “Our coaches are always stressing get the early points and the early lead, and that’s what I was able to do in the first period,” Harrah said.

The Tigers’ Clayton Lutzow (34-4) beat Richmond-Burton sophomore Garrett Sutton 6-4 at 138. Senior Jason Fugiel (27-2), state runner-up at 145 last year, pinned Vernon Hills’ Dan Klema for the 152 title.

The Sequoits’ 170-pounder Zach Epker (12-2) defeated St. Patrick’s Anthony Ferraris 7-4. Like Garelli, Epker overcame a serious injury, a torn ACL, in posting the impressive victory. “I finally have my endurance back to where I need it,” he said. “I had a couple of matches when I returned where after a minute, I was basically dead tired.”

Antioch’s Mike Gussarson (37-5) won the 126 title and George Gonzalez (32-4) prevailed at 145. Notre Dame’s Scott Smith (27-11) captured the 113 class and Jimmy Biancofiori (27-7) won at 132.

Vernon Hills’ 285-pounder Jeremy Brazil (41-1), second a year ago, continued his dominating season by pinning Hampshire’s Zach Oranger in 1:08.

Austin’s Nate Smith (113) and Mather’s Vinny Liotta (30-10) each finished third, becoming the only Public League state qualifiers.

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