Wrestling: Marmion qualifies eight wrestlers for state
Updated: February 11, 2012 11:41PM
Perhaps some of the names may be unfamiliar to Class 2A wrestling fans, but the all-too-familiar blue Marmion uniforms will be easy to spot once again at the State Finals since the Cadets advanced a meet-best eight — led by five champions — from the Sterling 2A Sectional on Saturday.
Yorkville, fresh off having edged Marmion for last week’s regional crown, has a six-member contingent headed to Champaign before the Foxes get to continue their season the following week in the Team Dual Tournament. Kaneland has four individuals continuing their quest for state success.
“We had another outstanding tournament,” said Marmion coach Dean Branstetter. “Considering we had to replace seven starters from last year, we squeezed out every point possible last week with guys placing higher than they were seeded. We came (to the sectional meet) with nine and have eight advancing, so I’m not displeased with anyone or the way in which we wrestled.”
Of course, state champions Johnny Jimenez (113), George Fisher (126) and Angelo Silvestro (138) were back on top of their respective podiums at Sterling but that trio was joined by two new Cadet title-winners in Anthony Bosco (106) and Cody Snodgrass (182).
An even more impressive meet considering that the Sterling Sectional featured 54 wrestlers in the final Illinois Best Weekly ratings — a state-high tally for 2A. There were also four No. 1-rated wrestlers, 24 within the top six, and of the three wrestlers who entered the meet with perfect records, only one exited with an unblemished mark (East Peoria’s Lucas Joseph, 41-0 as the 220-pound victor).
The opening weight class established the tempo of the meet as Marmion’s Bosco avenged a regional title loss by pulling out a 3-2 decision over Pontiac’s Jordan Lind.
“Having lost 7-6 last week, the coaches told me to move my feet more and throw in some more fakes,” Bosco said. “I’ve worked really hard this year and entering the third period I knew I was in better shape and my conditioning would pay off.”
While Jimenez is looking for a second straight state crown, he’s still looking to peak having lost a month from this season due to an ankle injury that was followed by having his appendix removed. Jimenez posted an 11-7 decision in the 113-pound title bout.
“I feel like I’m getting in better shape every time I step on to the mat and the harder I work the more it helps,” Jimenez added. “That’s why every day I’m just trying to make a statement.”
Fisher takes a much more methodical approach in his second title quest, patiently earning points and decisions, like his 6-2 win at 126 over DeKalb’s Doug Johnson.
“I don’t ever want to feel I’ve peaked, there’s always something to learn, always some way to get better until to achieve your goal, and once you do that, you set another, even higher one,” Fisher said.
In the 138-pound final, Silvestro earned a 9-5 win over Kaneland Dan Goress in order to boost his season mark to 38-4.
“I’m hoping the third time will be the charm at state. I’m a three-time sectional champ, three-time state qualifier, but this is my last shot. Only one of my losses is to someone from Illinois, but since then, I know I don’t ever want to feel the way I felt after that loss.”
Snodgrass posted a 5-2 decision in the 182-pound contest against Morris’ Nik Countryman after having spent the previous two seasons just under the varsity level.
“While it broke my heart to sit out, now I feel I just want it that much more. I think I can sneak up on some people and make something happen at state,” Snodgrass said.
Marmion’s other qualifiers include third-place finishers Jake Field (120) and Sam Kellett (152), plus fourth-place finisher Alex Fritz (220).
Yorkville’s Connor Bass is also making a third state appearance and goes to the summit as the 145-pound champion having won chalked up a 5-0 title bout shutout over Burlington Central’s Johnny Major.
“Right now I’m one step closer to getting the state title I want,” said last year’s runner-up. “As much as that is an accomplishment to be proud of, being one step from the top has been a huge driving force for me all season.”
The other Foxes headed to Champaign include runner-up Steve Pozeg (170), third-place finisher Jacob Hurt (132), and the fourth-place trio of Brennan Sharp (138), Clayton Bass (152), and Seth Gonzalez (285).
“As a staff, we’re really excited to have six qualifiers and we’re proud of all of them. We had a great regional and part of that is having some sleepers like Hurt and Sharp really come through for us,” coach Joe Fornell said.
Hurt opened the meet with a pinfall but then rebounded from a 10-2 semifinal loss to post two more sticks, including a 40-second pancake effort in the third place match.
“I’ve been trying to get pumped up before match knowing that the farther you go in the postseason, the better the competition. My coaches have stressed that I look for my shots, and that’s exactly what I did today.” Hurt said of his two Saturday pinfalls.
In addition to Goress, Kaneland boasted a second sectional runner-up in Ben Kovalick at 220 plus a pair of fourth-place finishers in Stephen Gust (106) and Esai Ponce (126).
“Qualifying for state is the key because everyone’s record technically gos back to 0-0. Any state qualifier says he wants to be on the podium and I’m no different,” Goress said.
“I’m definitely going for a medal,” Kovalick insisted despite his 15-5 title loss to East Peoria’s Joseph. “He’s undefeated for a reason and I know I’ve faced the best, so that gives me confidence to work harder and take my shot.”