DEERFIELD – McHenry County wrestlers represented one fourth of the field at the IHSA Class 2A Deerfield Sectional. Yet, they won 10 out of 14 sectional titles.
Prairie Ridge’s Josh Crandall, who won the 220-pound title, summed it up best for the 10 wrestlers who brought home sectional championships.
“It feels pretty good, but we still have one more week to go, and I want to get on the podium at state,” Crandall said. “This happened. It’s done. Now we’re moving on to state.”
In all, 22 McHenry County wrestlers qualified for state from Deerfield. The state tournament begins Thursday at State Farm Center in Champaign and concludes with Saturday night’s championship matches.
Five wrestlers from Marian Central won sectional titles: Elon Rodriguez (113), Scott Burke (126), Daniel Valeria (132), Bryce Shelton (138) and Dylan Connell (170).
Crystal Lake South won three sectional titles: Christian Olsen (113), Peyton Timmons (145) and Shane Moran (152).
Crystal Lake Central’s Caden Ernd (160) and Crandall from Prairie Ridge won the other local titles.
“As much as I like doing well, I like to see all of my teammates doing well,” South’s Olsen said. “I’m a team guy. It’s awesome to see all the work we’re putting in and how it’s translating.”
South’s Timmons tweaked his lower back and was down on the mat for several minutes in his semifinal match. He rallied, however, and won by major decision. Then in the final against Carmel’s Vince Swindell, he scored a takedown late in the third period to secure a 3-1 win.
“I’ve been in those uncomfortable situations,” Timmons said. “I put myself there in the practice room, and I just felt comfortable there. I wasn’t out of position. I just felt fine with it, and I was able to keep wrestling through it.”
Crystal Lake South coach Ross Ryan was impressed with all his wrestlers. Four of them are heading to state. Ryan said Timmons, a senior, is wrestling the best he has in his entire high school career.
“He just looks like he’s full of joy,” Ryan said. “It doesn’t look like work to him. There’s a little bit of beauty in that. I don’t know if it’s because it’s his last go-around, but it’s showing in how he performs.”
It was another dominant performance for the Marian wrestlers. Seven total Hurricanes are heading to state, including the five sectional champions.
Valeria (41-0) and Connell (40-0) remain unbeaten on the season. In the 170 semifinals, Kurtis Smith from Lakes scored a takedown on two-time champion Connell – a rare occurrence – but Connell held on for a 9-6 victory.
“I was rushing too much,” Connell said. “My takedowns, my finishes, my turns, I was trying to do it too fast.”
Still, a win is a win. Connell, a junior, has never lost a match at any round in the individual state tournament.
Valeria won a 3-2 match against Antioch’s Danny McPherson in the final at 132. McPherson had taken Valeria into overtime earlier this season.
At 126, Burke won with pins in the semifinals and the finals.
“I just kept working hard,” Burke said. “I had to go for that whole six minutes. I had to out-tough him the whole time. It feels great right now, especially not placing at sectionals last year, getting first this year feels amazing.”
Central’s Ernd and Prairie Ridge’s Crandall are both returning state qualifiers.
“This was just one more step in the process,” Ernd said.
Sectional finals results
106: Neumark (Deer) def. Castro (CLS), 13-0.
113: Olsen (CLS) def. Conway (St. P), 12-0.
120: Rodriguez (Marian) def. Barbarise (Ant), 5-0.
126: Burke (Marian) p. Jozwiak (GN), 4:23.
132: Valeria (Marian) def. McPherson (Ant), 3-2.
138: Shelton (Marian) def. Vela (WN), 9-4.
145: Timmons (CLS) def. Swindell (Carmel), 3-1.
152: Moran (CLS) def. Ramirez (Fenton), 4-3.
160: Ernd (CLC) def. Peters (C-G), 9-1.
170: Connell (Marian) def. Jens (GC), 7-1.
182: Cramer (GC) def. Lopez (Marian), inj. fft.
195: Goodman (Deer) def. Schoenfelder (Ant), 5-2.
220: Crandall (PR) def. Swanson (C-G), 10-3.
285: Wilcoxen (Fenton) p. Ness (Ant), 1:11.
Local state qualifiers
Cary-Grove: Colin Suyko (126), Charlie Gruen (132), Brad Peters (160), Isaac Rands (182), Joe Swanson (220).
Crystal Lake Central: Caden Ernd (160), Julian Ryerson (195), Andrew Hudec (220).
Crystal Lake South: Amador Castro (106), Christian Olsen (113), Peyton Timmons (145), Shane Moran (152).
Marian Central: Nick Davidson (106), Elon Rodriguez (120), Scott Burke (126), Daniel Valeria (132), Bryce Shelton (138), Dylan Connell (170), Niko Lopez (182).
Prairie Ridge: Kyle Koelblinger (195), Josh Crandall (220).
Woodstock North: Isaiah Vela (138).