HUNTLEY – Jacobs junior Austin Ryan's strategy was pretty simple – grab the early lead on Harlem's Adam Zacharuk and hold on from there.
“I knew I had to get the first takedown, then keep a good head and wrestle my match the rest of the way,” Ryan said.
Ryan accomplished that, holding a narrow lead then adding a takedown in the third period to win the 106-pound match at the Class 3A Huntley Wrestling Regional Tournament. Ryan was the lone area competitor to win his weight class Saturday. Those wrestlers in the top three advance to the Barrington Sectional.
Ryan (32-2) advanced to state as a freshman, but missed last year when he suffered a concussion in the sectional semifinals and was forced to stop competing.
Crystal Lake South had four runners-up in Nick Gil (126), Eric Barone (132), Nick Peters (138) and Brian Pence (182). Huntley's Brandon Mabry (195) and Dundee-Crown's Ray Griggel (220) also took seconds.
Huntley's Nick Meyer (106) and Ricky Vigil (120), South's Casey Callahan (113) and Hunter Stroh (170) and Jacobs' Cody Ferencz (126) won their third-place matches to keep their seasons alive.
Peters lost to Hononegah's Manny Silva, 4-3, in the championship match. Peters lost to Silva in the regional final match last year, as well.
“For the most part, I wrestled well,” Peters said. “There are areas where I could have done better. I think I have a good shot of placing high [at sectional] and making it out [to state].”
Griggel battled a shoulder injury most of the season, but said he feels much better now. He lost to Harlem's Kailor Hecox, 5-3, in the championship at 220.
“I was really rusty when I came back,” Griggel said. “I'm feeling more normal now.”
Meyer was in big trouble late in the third period, trailing South's Garrett Dziedzic, 7-1, when he pulled off a stunner. He reversed Dziedzic, then came up with a pin.
“I saw I was in trouble, but I didn't give up,” Meyer said. “I wanted to make it to sectional so bad. I wrestled hard and thought I could do my best, and whatever happens happens.”
Meyer said he hit on a single to start his winning move.
“I wanted to keep him under control and not let him get off his back,” Meyer said.
Vigil lost to Jacobs' Kenny Thompson, 9-3, early in the day, then came back to face him for third place. Vigil grabbed an 8-6 lead with a takedown as time was running out, but the clock came unplugged. Referees put 13.6 on the clock and Vigil started on top. He let Thompson escape and held him off for an 8-7 victory.
“I knew it was his senior year and I'd have to give it everything I got,” Vigil said. “Once I got the takedown, I just knew I had to him down as long as I could.”
Ferencz won a dramatic finish over Huntley's Brandon Meyer, 4-2, in overtime.
Stroh (15-16) defeated Huntley's Mike Walker, 7-2, for the third-place match at 170.
“I've had a really tough regular season,” Stroh said. “I lost to [Walker] early in the season, but I beat him at conference last week. I knew what I had to do.”