HARVARD – Dundee-Crown sophomore Christian Brunner placed fifth at 132-pounds last year at the Sciacca/Holtfreter Wrestling Tournament at Harvard. This year he won at 182.
The win helped the Chargers to a team championship with 189 points. Antioch was second with 185.5 followed by Huntley (180.5) and Harvard (147).
The Chargers entered the place rounds with the slimmest of leads, just a half point in front of Huntley and 9.5 ahead of Antioch. Brunner said wrestling with the team title on the line was extra motivation.
“I think it makes us wrestle harder,” Brunner said. “As a team there’s more everything.”
The win was also a turnaround for D-C, which finished ninth last year.
“We’re very excited,” Brunner said. “We took a big step from last year.”
Chargers coach Bob Skillman credited a strong senior class and wrestling good competition for the improvement. Of D-C’s 11 place winners, six were seniors.
“You’ve got to have senior leadership,” Skillman said. “We’ve been wrestling a tough schedule. That’s helped us.”
In the championship match, Brunner pinned Round Lake’s Joey Greenhill in 2:50. Skillman said Greenhill took a shot at the legs, but Brunner is good at countering that move.
“[Brunner] caught [Greenhill’s] head and just slowly brought it over and got the pin,” Skillman said.
Brunner had a simpler explanation.
“I caught him,” Brunner said. “[Greenhill] was strong and a tough wrestler.”
Brunner returned to play most of the season in football for the Chargers after breaking a leg in June.
“He’s a tough kid,” Skillman said. “Even though he’s a sophomore, he’s a leader.”
Huntley’s Chris Gamboa, who lost to Brunner last year in the fifth-place match, came back this year to win at 132 for the Red Raiders’ only individual title. Gamboa defeated Antioch’s Pat Schoenfelder, 17-11, but got put on his back in the third period to make things interesting.
It was a wake-up call for Gamboa, who was leading, 13-5, at the time.
“My nerves just kept me pumped up,” Gamboa said.
Richmond-Burton had three individual title winners – all of them named Sutton. Gavin won at 113, Grant at 126 and Garrett at 160. Garrett Sutton was named the meet's outstanding wrestler for the heavier weight classes.
Grant Sutton had the toughest finals match with both brothers winning by major decision. He defeated Huntley’s Ricky Vigil, 4-3. After taking Vigil down in the first period, Sutton got put on his back for a short time in the second after starting in the down position. In the third period, Sutton gave Vigil an escape point to start neutral and got a takedown for the win.
Sutton said it’s good to face tough competition and even get put in bad positions this time of year.
“I knew it was going to be a tough match,” Sutton said. “It’s easier to get caught in those positions now rather than later, so you know how to react to them.”
Also winning individual titles were Marian Central’s Nick Remke at 145 and Harvard’s Adam Freimund at 285.