HUNTLEY – Huntley sophomore Joaquin Miranda just couldn’t seem to get down to 152 pounds.
A Class 3A state qualifier at 145 last year as a freshman, Miranda cut to about 160 when the season started. With Rukkus Hunkins at 160 and state champion David Ferrante at 170 cemented into their spots in the lineup, Miranda had only one way to go: up.
Miranda has been wrestling at 182 pounds and said he currently weighs in at about 175. Even with the jump, he has found success. He finished fourth at 182 in Harlem’s Al Dvorak Invitational, and fourth at Granite City’s William “Red” Schmitt Holiday tournament.
On Thursday, he defeated Crystal Lake Central’s John Barrick, 11-1, and helped the Red Raiders defeat the Tigers, 62-11. Huntley (14-4, 6-0) remains unbeaten in Fox Valley Conference duals, extending it’s conference win streak to 38.
Miranda came in as a freshman last year and earned a spot in Huntley's varsity lineup, no small feat at a program that’s been a Class 3A contender in recent years.
“I mostly just got used to how high school wrestling was, and now this year, I feel like it’s gotten much easier,” Miranda said. “I do my own style. I try to change it up every time I wrestle and not stay limited to one style of wrestling.”
Miranda and Ryder Hunkins have been practice partners since fifth grade.
“Him and Ryder are best friends, so they were going to wrestle off [for 182 and 195] maybe,” Huntley coach B.J. Bertelsman said. “But they just decided where to go.”
Miranda said it has been challenging putting on the weight, but he thinks he’ll be in a good place for the postseason. Giving up a handful of pounds, as he is currently, is no fun.
“It’s tough but it comes down to just getting after it, honestly,” Miranda said.
At a school such as Huntley, the Red Raiders had no trouble filling Miranda's once-desired 152-pound spot, either. Rumyr Sobrepena, a senior transfer from Jacobs, has been a “pleasant surprise” at 152, according to Bertelsman. Sobrepena cruised to a win Thursday.
Huntley won 12 of 14 matches in Thursday’s dual. Rafael Sobrepena (113), Chris Le (126), Jeremy Jakowitsch (145), Ferrante (170) and Matt Burba (285) recorded pins. Sam Henkle (120) and Sam Spencer (132) won by technical fall. Andrew Lira (138), Rumyr Sobrepena (152) and Ryder Hunkins (195) won by major decision. Zack Rogala (106) won by forfeit.
For Central (8-6, 4-2), Caden Ernd (160) won by technical fall and Andrew Hudec (220) recorded a pin.
“Our kids went out there and battled,” Central coach Justen Lehr said. “Huntley’s got a really good team. I’m proud of the way that a lot of our kids wrestled. We had some matchups that we had at Dvorak that we closed the gap a little bit. I know it didn’t seem like it, probably, but our kids are getting better, they’re battling.”
Huntley 62, Crystal Lake Central 11
106: Rogala (Hunt) by fft.
113: Ra. Sobrepena (Hunt) p. Frankowski (CLC), 1:06.
120: Henkle (Hunt) tech. fall Keene (CLC), 16-0.
126: Le (Hunt) p. Stegmeyer (CLC), :34.
132: Spencer (Hunt) tech. fall Butler (CLC), 18-3.
138: Lira (Hunt) def. Lezama (CLC), 12-2.
145: Jakowitsch (Hunt) p. Johnson (CLC), 3:29.
152: Ru. Sobrepena (Hunt) def. Lardy (CLC), 15-2.
160: Ernd (CLC) tech. fall Coleman (Hunt), 16-0.
170: Ferrante (Hunt) p. Chikataev (CLC), 1:13.
182: Miranda (Hunt) def. Barrick (CLC), 11-1.
195: Hunkins (Hunt) def. Ryerson (CLC), 11-1.
220: Hudec (CLC) p. Petrocelli (Hunt), 2:25.
285: Burba (Hunt) p. Fuentes (CLC), :59.