HARVARD – With the 138-pound regional championship on the line, Marian Central’s Bryce Shelton ripped at Trey Piotrowski’s hands until he finally broke free.
When he did, his Hurricanes teammates went wild. Shelton, a sophomore, had bested Prairie Ridge’s two-time state medalist for a 3-2 victory in an ultimate tiebreaker. The match had captivated the crowd through three periods and overtime.
“I had a lot of adrenaline going and I just knew I could get that escape,” Shelton said. “I just had to do whatever it took.”
A state qualifier as a freshman last year, Shelton lost to Piotrowski in their first matchup this season, a 2-1 Piotrowski win during a dual meet last month. If there was any consolation in that loss, it proved Shelton could hang with the Illinois wrestling commit.
“I had to go back to the wrestling room and fix what I made mistakes on the first time,” Shelton said. “I got better at my shots and knew I had to keep circling and stay in the middle of the mat.”
Shelton was one of three individual regional champions for Marian at Saturday’s Class 2A Harvard Regional, along with Daniel Valeria (132) and Dylan Connell (160). The Hurricanes qualified nine wrestlers for next weekend's Class 2A Antioch Sectional.
They also won their second consecutive regional championship with 188 team points.
Crystal Lake Central (170) finished second and Crystal Lake South (154) was third. The regional title means Marian will have another shot at going to dual team state after the individual state championships finish up.
“This is what I expected,” Marian coach David Silva said. “I knew it was going to be close, but we got the job done. That’s the most important part.”
Prior to last season, the Hurricanes had never won a regional title in wrestling.
“It’s just building the tradition of the Marian wrestling program, just keep going from here,” senior Thor Paglialong said. “I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the future.”
Paglialong (285) advanced with a second-place finish. Silva noted that Paglialong and Mason Schwalbach (220) reaching championship matches really helped Marian's team score.
For Central, Caden Ernd (152) and Brock Montford (182) won regional titles individually. Montford and Prairie Ridge’s Kyle Koelblinger knocked heads in their title match. Koelblinger came up bleeding from the head and was forced to submit an injury forfeit.
“I went in for a shot, then he went in for a shot, and apparently my nose was harder than his head,” Montford said.
Central and Prairie Ridge each qualified seven wrestlers for sectionals. South qualified six wrestlers, but had four first-place finishes.
In the biggest underdog story of the day, Woodstock’s Jacob Waryck (285) qualified for sectionals with a pin against Central’s Ramon Fuentes in the third-place match. Waryck joined the wrestling team a little over a week ago, competing in the first match of his life during a Jan. 24 dual against Woodstock North.
A football and baseball player, Waryck decided he wanted to challenge himself. Now, he’s a sectional qualifier.
“I did everything my coaches told me to do,” Waryck said of his pin. “They said it would work and it did. Once I heard the slap on the mat, I was so excited.”
CLASS 2A ANTIOCH SECTIONAL QUALIFIERS
Crystal Lake Central: Dillon Carlson, fr. (113, second); Rocco Carone, so. (132, second); Caden Ernd, so. (152, first); Brenden Parks, jr. (160, second); Stephen Bushy, sr. (170, second); Brock Montford, sr. (182, first); DC Smith, sr. (195, third).
Crystal Lake South: Christian Olsen, so. (113, first); Peyton Timmons, jr. (126, first); Bardia Amin, sr. (132, third); Shane Moran, fr. (145, first); Jimmy Moore, sr. (182, third); Jason Burburija, jr. (220, first).
Harvard: Bryce Fiegel, so. (106, first); Nik Jimenez, fr. (120, second);
Marian Central: Josh Glover, fr. (106, second); Elon Rodriguez, so. (113, third); Scott Burke, so. (126, third); Daniel Valeria, jr. (132, first); Bryce Shelton, so. (138, first); Kaden Randazzo, so. (152, third); Dylan Connell, so. (160, first); Mason Schwalbach, so. (220, second); Thor Paglialong, sr. (285, second).
Prairie Ridge: Jace Sparks, sr. (120, first); Trey Piotrowski, sr. (138, second); Drake Regenhardt, sr. (152, second); Tommy Evans, so. (170, first); Kyle Koelblinger, jr. (182, second); Josh Crandall, jr. (195, first); Calvin Pesina, sr. (220, third).
Richmond-Burton: Chase Duncan, sr. (138, third); Dalton Wood, jr. (160, third); Brock Wood, fr. (170, third); Josh Dumont, sr. (195, second).
Woodstock: Cooper Adams, so. (145, third); Jacob Waryck, sr. (285, third).
Woodstock North: Sean Jaco, so., (285, first)