Wrestling: Loyola’s Michael Paloian off to good start at state

Updated: February 16, 2012 10:41PM

CHAMPAIGN – Loyola has plenty of tradition in a lot of sports, but wrestling isn’t one of them.

Michael Paloian has made it his mission to change that and so far, so good. Paloian earned a hard-fought 11-6 decision over Lyons’ Jaime Jones Thursday night in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament at Assembly Hall.

That kept the Loyola senior on track to become the first state placer in school history. Paloian (30-6), a standout football player who plans to concentrate on that sport in college, will face Wheaton Warrenville South’s Evan Welsh in Friday’s quarterfinals. A win there will guarantee him a spot on the awards stand and he still has a shot to place even if he loses.

Paloian knows a loss could happen if he doesn’t wrestle better than he did against Jones.

“I just gave up a lot of easy points,” he said. “I shouldn’t have let that happen. I have to pick it up [Friday] or it’s going to cost me then.”

Paloian didn’t make it to state last season, but he wasn’t awed by the Assembly Hall experience, perhaps because he’s played in so many big football games for the Ramblers, who reached the 8A final in November.

“It’s just another tournament,” he said. “It’s my last tournament, too. I want to make something of it.”

So did Grayslake Central’s Dylan Hay (36-8), who pulled off probably the day’s biggest upset when he beat second-ranked Steven Lalowski of Sycamore 6-5 in a Class 2A opener.

“That kind of made me mad when I read it,” Hay said of Lalowski’s ranking. “They had him beating everyone.”

Other than that, the day went mostly according to expectations.

In Class 3A, unbeatens Max Schneider (37-0) of Lane and Brian Murphy (28-0) remained on track to reach the 152 final and returning champs Jered Cortez (44-0) of Glenbard North and Sebastian Pique (37-3) both moved on at 120.

There could be another title-bout matchup of Class 3A unbeatens at 285 as De La Salle’s James Buss (39-0) and Bolingbrook’s Rob Bain (24-0) both moved on.

Schneider was one of four Public League wrestlers to advance. Bowen’s Ronzel Darling (24-1 at 113) and Dequence Goodman (35-1 at 220) moved on in 2A, while Ag. Science’s Mahmoud Shalabi (36-8 at 132) reached the quarterfinals in 1A.

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