Wrestling: Plenty of transfers at weekend’s state meet

Updated: February 15, 2012 10:43PM

Sebastian Pique had a pretty impressive resume when he arrived at Sandburg’s wrestling room this season.

A transfer from Hinsdale South, where he won the Class 3A 112-pound title last year, Pique brought with him an 88-9 career record, the experience gained from two trips to state and a determination to defy expectations.

“I think they expected me to be a cocky kid,” Pique said after winning the De La Salle Sectional title at 120 pounds. “I’m sure they expected me to be lazy, being a state champion, like I had it all already. But I want to do it again, two more times.”

Pique (40-3) is four wins away from another title, but he’ll likely have to go through another defending champ to achieve his goal at the state tournament, which begins a three-day run Thursday at Assembly Hall in Champaign.

On the opposite side of the Class 3A 120-pound bracket is Glenbard North’s Jered Cortez (43-0), who won the Class 2A 112 title last season when he was at Marmion.

Pique and Cortez are part of an unusually large contingent of prominent transfers returning to state wearing different uniforms this season.

In Class 3A, that group includes Mount Carmel sophomore Bryce Brill (42-1), the Class 2A 135 winner for Marmion last year now at 145, and Sandburg junior 170-pounder Ricky Robertson (40-0), who was a match away from placing at 152 for Mount Carmel last season. In Class 2A, Montini’s Jordan Laster (37-5) is among the contenders at 113 after taking fifth at 103 for Bolingbrook last season.

Also shaking up the state mix this season was the IHSA’s decision to remove the multiplier for some schools, which dropped some stars from Class 3A to 2A. Fenwick senior Matt Garelli (19-0) is the favorite to win the Class 2A 120-pound title this year after taking first in 3A at 103 a year ago. At 152, Marian Catholic’s Nate Jackson (35-1) is among the 2A contenders after taking fifth at the same weight in 3A in 2011. Also changing classes is DeKalb 126-pounder Doug Johnson (32-4, fifth at 126 in 3A), whose school is now the largest in Class 2A.

The Class 3A 120 bracket with Pique and Cortez is the only one in the larger classes with two defending champions. Other Class 3A wrestlers looking to repeat are Lockport senior 195-pounder Brad Johnson (33-0), who won at 189 last year, and Schaumburg senior 220-pounder Josh Marchok (39-1), last year’s 215 winner who is coming off a loss to Wheaton North’s Mike Swider (41-0) in the sectional final.

Other local returning champs in 2A are Marmion 113-pounder Johnny Jimenez (19-1), who won at 103; Marmion 126-pounder George Fisher (33-6), who took first at 119; and Crystal Lake Central 195-pounder Gage Harrah (37-1), who won at 189.

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