A year ago, Huntley wrestling qualified eight for the individual state tournament – a program record – and David Ferrante won the program’s first state championship. It felt as if things were setting up for a return trip to Bloomington for the IHSA Dual Team State Tournament.
Then the wheels fell off.
Injuries and illness kept four regulars out of the lineup during team sectionals, and the Red Raiders lost a 36-33 dual to Prospect, missing out on a trip to Bloomington.
“[We want] to right the wrong that happened last year at sectionals, where we totally collapsed on ourselves,” Huntley coach B.J. Bertelsman said. “A lot of kids want to fix that.”
Huntley (18-7) has its chance to make things right Tuesday. The Red Raiders take on Libertyville at the Class 3A Glenbrook North Dual Team Sectional at 6 p.m. Teams competing in dual team sectionals need to defeat only one opponent to advance to the state quarterfinals Saturday in Bloomington.
Also competing Tuesday is Marian Central (21-0) in Class 2A and Harvard (24-5) in Class 1A. Marian, which finished third in 2A last season, takes on Deerfield at the Fenton Dual Team Sectional. Harvard will face Sandwich at the Rock Falls Dual Team Sectional.
It’s always a quick turnaround after the individual state tournament in Champaign, which finished Saturday. Bertelsman sees an opportunity for his program, which finished fourth in
Class 3A two years ago at dual team state.
“It’s something that we know we can do this year,” Bertelsman said of returning to state. “We have a good number of seniors in the lineup.”
Most teams have at least one or two wrestlers banged up by this point in the season.
Huntley’s Jeremy Jakowitsch injured his knee in the third-place match at 138 in 3A on Saturday but wrestled through it and won the match. His status is uncertain for Tuesday.
For Marian, Kaden Randazzo (160) injured his knee at sectionals and forfeited his consolation match, ending his individual tournament. His status also is unclear. Silva said he believes Randazzo would’ve gone to individual state if not for the injury.
Marian won six individual state medals over the weekend, with seven total qualifiers. Its opponent, Deerfield had six state qualifiers and three medalists. Cody Goodman was the state runner-up at 195.
“They’re a talented team,” Silva said. “They’ve got a lot of guys; they’ve got a lot of depth. They’ve got some good, all-around wrestlers. We’re just going to have to find a way to win.”
Harvard is a program trying to return to dual team state for the first time since 2014. Nik Jimenez (126) was a state runner-up, and Nathan Rosas (195) finished fifth, earning the program’s first individual state medals in three years.
“It was tremendous for those two to be able to have the opportunity and to wrestle as well as they did,” coach David Schultz said. “I thought they both wrestled really well. It’s good for our program to be able to see guys have success.”
Harvard hopes the success continues. Its opponent, Sandwich, had one state qualifier, along with 10 other sectional qualifiers. Schultz said a trip to dual team state is something his program has been working toward.
“It would be a great opportunity for our kids to, at the very minimum, experience what that atmosphere is like,” Schultz said.