Here are three McHenry County wrestlers who impressed in Friday's consolation rounds.
Ryan Golnick, Jacobs, Class 3A, 220
Golnick started Friday morning with an ultimate tiebreaker overtime loss, 4-3, against Montini’s Josh LaBarbera. Despite the heartbreak, Golnick came back and won his second-round consolation match with a first-period pin against St. Rita’s Eric Andersen.
Golnick needs one more win Saturday morning to assure himself a medal. He faces Yorkville’s Ben Stemmet, who is committed to wrestle at Air Force, in the consolation quarterfinals – the “blood round” – which begins at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Sam Spencer, Huntley Class 3A, 126
Spencer’s day didn’t start off the way he wanted. St. Charles East’s Jake Penzato pinned Spencer in a state quarterfinal match.
However, Spencer rebounded for a technical fall victory against Fremd’s Charlie Fifield. In doing so, Spencer became the all-time winningest wrestler in Huntley program history. Spencer’s 165th career victory surpassed his brother, Zach Spencer, who graduated in 2018.
Sam Spencer can assure himself his second state medal with a win over Glenbard North’s Nolan Allen in the consolation quarterfinals on Saturday.
Charlie Gruen, Cary-Grove, Class 2A, 132
Gruen is the only McHenry County wrestler who lost his opening match of the state meet Thursday, but is still alive in the consolation.
Gruen needed to win two consolation matches Saturday – and did. He pinned Oak Forest’s Ivan Corral, then won a 5-4 decision against Jacksonville’s Tim Welsh to extend his tournament to Saturday. Gruen needs a win over Antioch’s Danny McPherson on Saturday to assure himself a medal.
This comes a week after Gruen won three consolation matches in at the Class 2A Deerfield Sectional to even qualify for state.