High school wrestling notes: Cary-Grove's Koeppel shows grit at Sycamore

Cary-Grove’s Cadin Koeppel went the distance in his semifinal match of the 220-pound bracket Saturday at the 43rd annual Sycamore Wrestling Invitational.

Koeppel battled Kaneland’s Calvin McDonald even through three periods and the sudden victory period before losing, 6-5, in an ultimate tiebreaker period. It was a disappointing finish, but the C-G senior went on to defeat McHenry’s Geoff Cagle, 5-0, in the third-place match and had a solid day overall.

“I knew I was right there,” Koeppel said of the semifinal match. “I’ve just got to keep looking for takedowns. I got a takedown there, but then I made the mistake of locking my hands at the end. It’s just little things. I’m right there with the kid.”

Koeppel improved his season record to 22-5. He recently won the 220 bracket at Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Mid-States Classic. He defeated Cagle in the final, 3-1.

Wrestling in the same conference, Koeppel and Cagle are familiar with each other. They could meet again at regionals, too, with both C-G and McHenry competing in the Class 3A Dundee-Crown Regional.

Koeppel’s third-place finish was C-G’s best performance Saturday in Sycamore. In the latest state rankings from the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association, Koeppel was an honorable mention at 220 in Class 3A.

“It’s going pretty well,” Koeppel said. “[I’ve got to] just keep working to get better for the state series because that’s where it counts.”

No rematch this time: Hampshire’s Casey Allen (160) has only one loss on the season, an 11-0 defeat at the hands of Huntley’s David Ferrante. But there was no rematch Saturday at Sycamore.

Ferrante sat out the tournament, which opened the door for Allen to take the title. At 23-1, Allen is off to a solid start to the season. The senior aims to return to the state finals this year for the first time since his sophomore season in 2016.

He won a tough match Saturday, 3-1, in sudden victory against Washington’s Jared Head in the 160-pound final. Allen hasn’t been pushed to three periods too often this season. He knows his stamina will have to be a focus as he looks toward the state tournament next month.

“I haven’t really gone three periods all year, so that was really exhausting,” Allen said. “[I’ve got to] keep stretching, keep getting faster and stronger, be able to get more endurance.”

Allen is ranked sixth in Class 2A at 160 by Illinois Matmen and seventh by the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association.

Mazzanti rolling: Woodstock North is off to a solid 16-5 start to the season, and 145-pounder Nicco Mazzanti is one reason why. Mazzanti took fourth in the 145 bracket at Sycamore, upping his record to 23-6. Moline’s Grant Ohlsen needed a sudden-victory period to beat Mazzanti in the semifinals.

The senior noted that he lost by one point to Harvard’s Keenan Brummett this season. Brummett was a state qualifier for the Hornets last year. Mazzanti expects a close match again when the Thunder face the Hornets on Jan. 19.

Mazzanti said he has done a good job of keeping matches close this season and finishing well toward the end of periods.

“[I’m] focusing on finishing my shots,” Mazzanti said. “My bottom game is pretty strong. Top game, make sure I ride them tough and keeping it close. Executing when it really counts.”

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