By SETH SCHWARTZ
When three of the country’s top teams tangle on the mat, you expect it to go to the wire. That was the case Saturday, in Orland Park, as Marmion Academy nipped Sandburg 30-29 in the morning and Oak Park followed by pulling away with a 34-27 decision in the afternoon.
Sandburg coach Eric Siebert’s disappointment was palpable as he assessed the outcome.
“We have a long road ahead of us,” he said. “We need to be better in practice, we need to be tougher and in better shape; we need to win close matches. In bonus point positions we underachieved again.
“You have to want to get better in practice physically and intellectually. You can’t just go through the motions.”
Sandburg started strong against Marmion with decisions from Ben Schneider (160), Brian Krasowski (171) and a pin from Patrick Brucki (182). Marmion’s Nathan Traxler (195) and Wes Kramer (285) posted pins and Sean McKenna’s decision tied the match at 15. Virginia-bound Louie Hayes (113) gave the Eagles a lift with fall at 31 seconds. Majors from Ken Stearns (120) and Rudy Yates (132) propelled Sandburg to a 29-18 advantage.
But A.J. Jaffe (138) had a first period pin, Brad Gross (145) added a decision and Trace Carello (152) held off John Prieto 3-2 for a 30-29 win.
“The meet went pretty much as expected,” said Marmion coach Donny Reynolds. “A dual is never decided by one guy, but it was nice knowing we were finishing with Trace. [Freshman] Gross did a real nice job for us. We have to make some adjustments and I know they will. The dual will be a lot different next time.”
Marmion will see Sandburg in the sectional which has some fans shaking their heads.
“We have two teams ranked in the top 20 in the country and we’re meeting in the sectional?” Siebert stated.
Flowrestling ranks Oak Park No. 11, Sandburg No. 15 and Marmion Academy No. 20.
Against Oak Park, the Eagles moved to a 18-7 lead with a pins from Brucki (182) and Cole Bateman (195) and a Huskies forfeit at 220.
Hayes (113) decisioned Robert Campos 2-0, but the Huskies took six of the next eight classes and went heavy on bonus points.
Jason Renteria (120) got a major, Alex Madrigal (126) had a pin with 30 seconds left in the match and Jaime Hernandez (138) followed with a second period pin. Mike Ordonez (145) finished a single-leg takedown with 15 seconds left for a critical 11-10 decision over Alex Hirschfield, Isaiah White (160) secured the meet with a technical fall and Rolliann Sturkey (170) earned a tiebreaking decision in overtime.
Gabe Townsell (132) got a first period takedown against Rudy Yates, but lost 9-5. It was only Yates’ second decision of the season.
“We feel like we left a lot on the table,” said Oak Park assistant coach Mike Powell.
“There a few weights where we could’ve done a better job, but overall I am happy. Sturkey is an incredible talent, he’s really just learning to put it together.”