R-B's Sutton, CLC's Marsden win state titles

CHAMPAIGN – Richmond-Burton's Garrett Sutton won his second straight state title and Crystal Lake Central's Andrew Marsden got a first-period pin in the Class 2A championship of the individual wrestling state finals Saturday.

Sutton got a quick takedown in the first period of his 160-pound title match against Washington's Jacob Warner and looked to be in total control early. After that takedown, Warner began wrestling defensively and Sutton was only up, 5-3, after two periods.

"I was concerned that he was doing all the work and not scoring points," Rockets coach Bret Wojcik said. "[Warner] was just trying to keep it close and hit a big move at the end." 

Warner got a reversal to start the third to narrow the gap to, 6-5. Sutton said despite the close score he still was confident and went on to win, 11-6, to win the title. 

"I was confident the whole time," Sutton said. "I just had one little slip-up."

It was emotionally trying for Sutton, who watched his brother Grant lose in the 126 finals. Gavin Sutton also placed third at 113.

"I get a lot more nervous for their matches than my own," Garrett Sutton said. "It hurt to watch, but I have confidence they will both come out on top next year." 

All state titles are special, but Garrett Sutton said this one had a little more finality to it being a senior. 

"This year I feel a lot more conclusive," Garrett Sutton said. "Two state titles. I'm real proud of myself for that." 

After losing in the Lakes Sectional final to Montini's Anthony Ferraro, Marsden came out aggressive in state finals and got a quick takedown and back points. Marsden said even he was a little surprised by his fast start. 

"My coach said, 'When he pushes back, he's going to get sloppy.' " Marsden said. "When I hit [the takedown], I was shocked."

Marsden got Ferraro in a cradle to lock up the pin at 1:32. Even with the cradle locked up, Marsden said he wasn't thinking about winning the state title yet.  

"I was just focused on getting the pin," Marsden said. "I squeezed and closed my eyes, hoping that the ref would call it." 

Tigers coach Justen Lehr said it was a different Marsden than in the sectional final. 

"It was a matter of [Marsden] being more aggressive," Lehr said. "Andrew was just on fire."

Marsden's title was tempered by watching teammate Mike Zelasco lose in the 182 finals. Being in consecutive weight classes allowed Zelasco and Marsden to march in the Grand March together, both for the first time.

"It was nice to share the moment with him," Marsden said.

Central ended the season on a high after failing to win a regional title, where they qualified seven wrestlers for sectionals. Those seven also qualified for and placed at state. 

"They wrestled real well," Lehr said of his seven place winners. "How many others placed seven wrestlers?"

Lehr said the team loss might have benefited his individual wrestlers. 

"It didn't work out and we focused on our kids," Lehr said. "I think it helped out for them to get the individual attention." 

In Class 3A, McHenry's Luis Hernandez lost, 8-2, in the 220 championship to Harlem's Sage Hecox, and Dundee-Crown's Christan Brunner lost, 5-3, in the 182 title match to Deerfield's Colton Emmerich. 

It was a bad ending for an otherwise stellar season for Hernandez. After being injured the last part of the regular season, Hernandez came back to qualify for state for the first time. 

At state, Hernandez beat the No. 1-ranked wrestler in the state by illinoismatmen.com in the semifinals and the No. 3-ranked wrestler in the quarterfinals. Hernandez ended the year with two losses and 37 wins. 

Brunner, an honorable mention in the rankings, turned some eyes when he beat No. 1-ranked Alex Benoit from Marist in the semifinals. 

Chargers coach Bob Skillman said Brunner, a sophomore, benefited from not being in the spotlight. 

"We were kind of hiding [Brunner]," Skillman said. "We were happy he wasn't ranked up there. He made believers of us all."