FOX LAKE – McHenry wrestler Brad Ostdick set out to do something this season he has never done before: record 30 wins.
The senior entered the Class 3A Grant Regional with 26 wins against nine losses. He wrestled his way to two wins Saturday and found himself in the third-place match in a winner-take-all scenario, as only the top three wrestlers in each weight class advance to sectionals.
His goals and season were on the line against Grant's Alex Rodriguez in the 132-pound division.
"I had to remind myself it's my senior year and pumped myself up," Ostdick said of his 8-0 major decision victory, which pushed his win total to 29. "And once I saw the guy look at me, I just knew I was going to win. Once I got the first takedown, I knew I had control because I was good on top. There was a couple times I had to scramble, but I stayed in control.
"It got me one step closer to finally getting my 30 wins. I've never gotten that in my six years of wrestling, and that's a big goal for me, and I have just one more to go. I just can't wait for it."
McHenry took third with 167.5 points behind champion Grant and runner-up Libertyville. Ostdick was one of five McHenry wrestlers to advance to sectionals.
Mike Infelise (126), Wade Lardy (145) and Luis Hernandez (220) were regional champions for the Warriors, while Cam Pait took (160) took second.
"A lot of ups and downs today," Warriors coach Will Gaddy said. "I feel really bad for the seniors that didn't make it. Mike Sikula worked his butt off for four years for me and he had some high goals but just came up a bit short, and I feel for Angel Hernandez. That's what sticks in my mind right now."
Sikula was the hard-luck loser in his third-place, 120-pound match. The senior was tied with Gurnee Warren's Martin Martinez 0-0 in the second overtime but gave up points late as Martinez recorded two points with an escape in a match that had the entire gym's attention.
Hernandez (285) was tied, 1-1, in his third-place match, but his opponent scored an escape in the final two seconds.
"It's tough for the guys that ended this way," Gaddy said. "I'm sure they would like to do it over, but they wrestled tough. They're tough kids. Those matches where one goes home is full of pressure, and you have to be able to battle through it, and I think they all did that today."
Prairie Ridge finished seventh with 53 points and saw two wrestlers advance to sectionals. Travis Piotrowski, a freshman, defeated Zion-Benton's Anthony Munzoz in overtime for the championship at 106, and Charley Popp (160) advanced with a third-place finish.
"It means a lot to me," Popp said of advancing. "Last year I didn't do so well, and my freshman year I placed fourth, so this was huge and exciting. I feel like I'm getting better each year."
Piotrowski was all smiles as well as he clutched his championship plaque.
"To win regionals as a freshman, it feels pretty good," Piotrowski said. "I was feeling pretty confident, and when my last match went into overtime my heart was beating so fast, but when I got the takedown I was so happy. I can't wait to have the chance to wrestle some good kids at sectionals."