Wrestling: Minooka’s Zabel removed from state bracket

Story Image Minooka’s Bob Zabel (left) beat Romeoville’s Caleb Ramos
in the 132 pound final match Saturday afternoon, during the Southwest Prairie
Conference Championships at Minooka High School, January, 28, 2012.
| Ray Luna ~ For Sun-Times

Paige Schoolman’s challenging first year as the leader of Minooka’s juggernaut wrestling program became a bit more difficult Tuesday when Bob Zabel, the Indians’ sectional champ at 132 pounds, was removed from the individual state finals bracket.

Zabel, who finished in sixth place at 130 pounds as a sophomore in 2011, was on the bracket as first posted Monday. His removal, a source said, owed to an athletic honor code violation.

Zabel is not expected to be allowed to return for the ongoing dual meet tournament. Minooka, which has finished second, first and second in the previous three Class 3A tourneys, meets Edwardsville on Tuesday in sectional competition in an effort to earn its seventh quarterfinal berth in nine years.

The Indians already endured the loss of one decorated state veteran. Kalvin Hill, the state champ at 160 pounds in 2011, opted not to go out for wrestling as a senior, preferring to concentrate on football.

Schoolman declined to comment Wednesday except to say, “We are excited about the five qualifiers that will be competing this weekend.”

Those wrestlers include Jake Residori (41-2), a two-time placer who is in the title mix at 170 pounds. If he places again, he’ll join Mark Mitchell as Minooka’s second three-time medal winner.

Bracket breakdown

Joliet-area wrestlers could challenge the local record of seven state championships collected at a single tournament, which was set in 2008.

Five local wrestlers are top-ranked at their weight class by Illinois Best Weekly, while a dozen others are ranked either second or third.

Providence’s Eddie Klimara (126) and Lockport’s Shaun’Qae McMurtry (160) and Brad Johnson (195) are top-ranked in Class 3A while Wilmington’s Stephen Kettner (113) and Alex Peterson (195) have the same distinction in Class 1A.

Johnson (33-0) is attempting to become the first Porter to win two state titles while Klimara (39-1) hopes to bounce back from back-to-back one-point title losses to claim his second state championship.

Joining Klimara and Johnson as four-time state qualifiers are Wilmington’s Trent Lyons (126) and Reed-Custer’s Billy Chancey (160), both of whom are seeking their second Class 1A titles.

Chancey (34-0) could become the Comets’ first three-time place-winner and two-time champion after winning state a year ago and finishing second in 2010. Lyons (38-1) won a title in 2010 and took second last year while at Reed-Custer.

Two-time place-winners who took second at state a year ago are Lincoln-Way East’s Kyle Langenderfer (138) and McMurtry. Langenderfer (38-2) will try to become the Griffins’ second champ and first three-time medalist, while McMurtry (41-1) could join Johnson as one of three Porters to become three-time All-Staters.

Joliet Central’s Trayvon Zabala (113) took second place last year. Zabala (31-2) could become the first Steelmen wrestler since Joei Bales in 1984 and 1985 to reach consecutive championship matches.

Joliet Catholic’s Nick Collofello (18-2) is a Class 1A title contender at 182 pounds. He is trying to become the Hilltoppers’ second champion, with the other being Pat Mudron, who won state in 1967.

Bolingbrook’s Rob Bain (23-0) is among the favorites in Class 3A at 285 pounds. Bain’s brother, Ryan, was the state heavyweight champ in 2005 for the Raiders.

Other returning place-winners from a year ago in 3A are Plainfield Central’s Nick Nasenbeny (120) and Joliet West’s Jim Spangler (138). Plainfield Central’s Nathan Davis (126) and Lemont’s Jake Latanski (126) won medals in 2010.

Individuals who placed at state a year ago and are back in Class 1A are Wilmington’s Kettner (113) and Andy Rodawold (132) and Seneca’s Alex Valentine (145).

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