Wrestling: Montini rolls by Yorkville for 2A state

Story Image Montini's Conor Winel (left) gets tangled with Yorkville's Steve Pozeg (right) enroute to his 9-2 victory during the 170 weight division of the IHSA wrestling dual team state championship Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012, in the U.S. Cellular Coliseum at 101 S. Madison St. in Bloomington. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
Story Image

Updated: February 25, 2012 10:14PM



BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Drew Vrbenec didn’t get the ending to his individual wrestling career he would have liked.

But for years now, there’s always been another chance for Montini wrestlers to make their final high school meet a memorable one.

“It’s a good way to end senior year,” Vrbenec said after helping the Broncos win their fifth state title overall and fourth in a row in Class 2A.

“Last weekend didn’t go my way particularly. I didn’t end up placing in individual state, but I guess I kind of made up for it here.”

Montini (21-0) beat the second-best team in 2A, Lemont, in the regional to advance to the team state series and steamrolled the competition once there. On Saturday at U.S. Cellular Coliseum, the Broncos beat 2011 runner-up Crystal Lake Central 50-10 in the quarterfinals, rolled by Bloomington 49-12 in the semis and cruised past Yorkville 53-12 in the title match.

So dominant was Montini that four-time state placer KeVon Powell walked on the mat just once, and that was only to take a forfeit in the final bout of the semifinal.

“He’s been banged up all year,” Montini coach Israel Martinez said of Powell. “I gave him the day off. I said, ‘Just sit back and enjoy it.’”

That advice was taken by all of the Broncos, who staked their claim as the state’s top team regardless of class by beating 3A champ Sandburg to win the Hinsdale Central tournament in December and knocking off 3A runner-up Oak Park-River Forest in a dual.

“Winning never gets old,” said junior Edgar Ruano, who also played for the Broncos’ Class 5A football champs along with wrestling teammates Michael Maduko, David Sarkan and Anthony Ferraro.

“The transition [from football to wrestling] is usually kind of rough the first couple months,” Ruano said. “But once we get rolling ... we start winning. We’ll always be ready for state.”

Jake Turk (182), Sarkan (220), state champ Tommy Pawelski (106), Vince Turk (120) and Michael Sepke (126) all had falls in the title match, while Xavier Montalvo (160), Ferraro (195), Jordan Laster (113), Chris Garcia (132) and Vrbenec (138) each contributed major decisions.

All of the starters in the title bout will be back other than Vrbenec and Conor Winel, who won a decision at 170.

“What most people don’t know is we’ve got three guys who are freshmen who are unbelievable,” Martinez said. “Next year we’ll be better than ever.”

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.

Comments  Click here to view or make a comment