CHAMPAIGN – Twenty-one years ago, Huntley coach B.J. Bertelsman won the 1998 Class AA 275-pound state championship for Belleville West and punctuated it with a cartwheel.
Huntley junior David Ferrante has seen video of that moment, and he knew if he became the Red Raiders’ first wrestling state champion, he would do the same.
Saturday night at State Farm Center in Champaign, Ferrante pinned Neuqua Valley’s Jacob Boumans in the third period of the Class 3A 170-pound title match, pointed at Bertelsman, and added a cartwheel of his own.
“Coach Bertelsman pours his heart out for every single kid on this team,” Ferrante said. “He sacrifices a lot to give us truly his all and more. I wanted to honor him in the final match and thank him for everything he’s done for me.”
Ferrante made Red Raiders history and was one of three McHenry County wrestlers to win state championships Saturday.
Marian Central sophomore Dylan Connell (Class 2A, 160) won his second consecutive state championship with a 3-1 win over Washington’s Jared Head. Crystal Lake South’s Christian Olsen (2A, 113) became the Gators’ second state champion in program history with a 12-3 win over Oak Forest’s Miles Trahey.
Marian’s Josh Glover (2A, 106) and Crystal Lake Central’s Brock Montford (2A, 182) finished as state runners-up after losses in their championship matches.
Ferrante (45-2), who is committed to Northwestern, was a fourth-place medalist as a freshman at 152 in 2017, but missed out on the podium last year. He said that was “a low for my high school wrestling career. I knew I needed to change some things.”
Ferrante had surgery on his thumb during the offseason and came back stronger than ever. He won all four of his matches at state with either a pin or a major decision.
“True dominance,” Bertelsman said. “No one touched him this weekend.”
After winning the 152-pound title last year, Marian’s Connell (46-2) was ranked No. 2 all season behind Head, who was the runner-up at 160 a year ago. That fact was not lost on Connell and coach David Silva.
“That was something that we both really wanted,” Silva said. “He went out there and did what we knew he was going to do, which was control the whole match.”
Connell won it in the same fashion he won his title match a year ago, a low-scoring slugfest in which he rode out Head for nearly the entire second period.
“When you’re in those situations in a finals match, you have to just push through and ride a guy out,” Connell said. “One of the most tiring things is getting ridden out.”
Connell has now won two of Marian’s four state titles in school history and joins Rich Powers (Class A 167-pound titles in 1986 and 1987) as a back-to-back champion.
“It’s so special to me,” Connell said. “Everything I’ve done for the last 11 years of my life, it’s all paying off.”
Olsen (39-1) put on a clinic in a 12-3 major decision victory over Trahey. With a big lead in the final seconds, Olsen sensed Trahey losing his will to fight.
“I felt him break,” Olsen said. “I felt him not want to wrestle me anymore. I kept pouring it on. In the end, I was so happy. I just won a state title. A lot of emotions.”
Olsen is South’s second state champion in school history and first since Eric Barone won the Class 3A 145-pound title in 2015. Earlier this season, South coach Ross Ryan had Olsen over for dinner and they called Barone on Facetime to talk about wrestling and mindset.
“He was just a sponge,” Ryan said. “I was sitting there cooking and they’re just talking.”
Barone, a redshirt junior wrestler at Illinois, was in the stands at State Farm Center to watch Olsen win his title Saturday. Olsen, a sophomore, is now a two-time medalist after finishing fourth at 106 last year.
Local state championship matches
170: David Ferrante, Huntley (45-2) p. Jacob Boumans, Neuqua Valley (40-4), 4:21.
106: Chad Bellis, Bloomington (44-11) def. Josh Glover, Marian Central (41-9), 9-1.
113: Christian Olsen, Crystal Lake South (39-1) maj. dec. Miles Trahey, Oak Forest (41-4), 12-3.
160: Dylan Connell, Marian Central (46-2) def. Jared Head, Washington (47-2), 3-1.
182: Daniel Jezik, Coal City (24-0) def. Brock Montford, Crystal Lake Central (35-7), 8-5.