Crystal Lake Central has all 7 state qualifiers place
CHAMPAIGN - Crystal Lake Central brought seven wrestlers to the Individual State Wrestling Finals and left with seven medals.
Mike Petersen at 132 pounds and Kyle Fugiel (170) both won their third-place matches for the Tigers. Lenny Petersen (120), Logan Lundelius (138) and Romeo McKnight (220) all took sixth for Central in Class 2A.
It's the first time in recent memory that the Tigers have had all of their state qualifiers place.
"We're all pretty pumped up about that," Fugiel said. "We had all these good kids (in the past) and still couldn't do it."
Fugiel got a little payback when he pinned Lincoln-Way West's Javier Montalvo in his third-place match. He lost to Montalvo in the quarterfinals to get bumped to the back draw. Fugiel said he knew he had to combat Montalvo's aggressive style.
"I took him down with head and hand fakes," Fugiel said. "I just saw the opportunity and I went for it."
Mike Petersen had an appreciation for what he accomplished as a sophomore but understands that what he is doing is not life and death. He said Tigers' coach Justen Lehr tells them all wrestling is just a game.
"This was my dream since I was 10-years-old," Mike Petersen said. "It's just all about playing the game right. When you think of it as a job it gets to you"
Marian Central's Nick Remke defeated Springfield's Horatio Austin, 6-5, in his third place match. Remke got put on his back and was down, 5-3, going into the third but got an escape and takedown to win.
While Remke was not satisfied with his third-place medal, he understood how many good wrestlers were in his bracket.
"I knew it was going to be tough," Remke said. "To be ahead of everybody else but those two feels pretty good."
Richmond-Burton's Gavin Sutton placed third at 113 and exacted a little revenge. In the consolation semifinals, he decisioned Elmwood Park's Ben Vazquez, 7-1. Sutton had lost to Vazquez in the Lakes Sectional finals. In the third-place match, he beat Sandwich's Dan Emma, 4-3.
Sutton got a reversal with about 20 seconds left in the third for the win. He said after the match he got to take it all in and see his family and supporters cheering.
"I was a bit worried because [Emma] was so lanky" Sutton said. "I felt great and looked up into the crowd."
After just missing placing at state in Class 1A last year, Harvard's Adam Freimund came back to place fifth at 285 this year in 2A. Freimund wanted more but didn't offer any excuses.
"I can appreciate that I placed," Freimund said. "It's not what I wanted but I just should have done better. I blame it all on me."
In 3A, Eric Barone got a pin for Crystal Lake South in his first match at state. After that, he didn't have a match go under eight minutes, wrestling in two ultimate tiebreakers and two tiebreaker matches.
Barone defeated Belleville West's Nick Foster, 2-1, in tiebreakers in his 145-pound fifth-place match. Barone said the overtime experience gives him confidence going into the those matches.
"It's still a grind but (the experience) helps me keep calm and keep my cool," Barone said.
Also for the Gators, Nick Gil defeated Glenbard West's Pernevlon Sheppard, 6-2, in his fifth place match at 138.
Cary-Grove's Mike Cullen was injured in his consolation semifinal match at 120 against Oak Park-River Forest's Richard Townsell. Townsell caught Cullen in the right eye with his head on a takedown move.
Cullen's eye was severely swollen and he was take off the mat on a stretcher to the hospital. Trojans' coach Ryan Ludwig said Cullen was alert at the hospital after getting an x-ray.
Cullen would have defaulted to a sixth-place finish but his fifth place match opponent, Marist's Mark Duda, was removed from the tournament for a flagrant personal foul for a hand gesture to the crowd. Cullen got the fifth-place medal.