Wrestling: Sandburg steamrolls Mount CarmelSandburg's Dan Garcia celebrates his win over MT. Carmel's Alex Asta in the 132 lb. weight class in a dual team sectional on Feb. 21, 2012, in Oak Park. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 21, 2012 10:13PM
Jake Vales may not be good enough to beat out Sebastian Pique in Sandburg’s wrestling lineup, but there’s no shame in that.
Pique, after all, is a two-time state finalist and a one-time champ. But Vales is good enough to give the Eagles a boost as they chase their first state title since winning three in a row from 2005 to ’07.
Vales scored one of Sandburg’s 11 falls Tuesday as the Eagles rolled by Mount Carmel 66-14 in a Class 3A sectional at Oak Park-River Forest. Sandburg (27-2) advances to Saturday’s state tournament at U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington. The Eagles will meet Lockport, a 41-24 winner over New Trier, in a 9 a.m. quarterfinal.
“It was good to get another match in,” said Vales, who is 15-5 in varsity competition this season. “It’s been a while.”
“Jake Vales is a talented kid,” Sandburg coach Eric Siebert said. “He beat a state qualifier this year. He’s good enough to help his team in the team sectional format.”
And possibly at team state, where the Eagles could have to wrestle three times in one day. That task gets easier when coaches have the option to mix and match lineups to get the best match-ups against certain opponents and to rest some key performers without missing a beat.
“Obviously, it’s good when you win,” Siebert said. “But it also serves the nice purpose of getting some matches. Not everyone qualifies 14 guys for the state tournament. You’re talking a week and a half off for most of your starters (who don’t reach state) or even longer for a JV guy or a backup.”
Sandburg opened a 12-0 lead with falls by 170-pound state runner-up Ricky Robertson at 182 and Pat Halpin at 195. Mount Carmel got within 12-9 on David Denne’s fall at 220 and Aaron Tolliver’s 1-0 decision at 285.
But Sandburg then took control with six straight falls, by Jim Pellegrino (106), Jim Panozzo (113), Pique (120), Vales (126), John Pellegrino (132) and Dan Garcia (138).
State individual runner-up Bryce Brill ended the run by getting a technical fall for Mount Carmel at 145, but Sandburg closed it out with pins by Collin Holler (152), Brennan Duffy (160) and Chris Pajak (170),
Duffy is another backup who came through for the Eagles.
“This time of year, it’s no secret guys are banged up,” Siebert said. “We’re banged up, the next team is banged up. So any depth is welcome and we have good depth.”