By GARY LARSEN
Eddie Bolivar did something surprising on Saturday but at this point that’s pretty much what Oak Park and River Forest wrestlers are expected to do.
The sophomore won a 6-5 title-mat decision at 120 pounds over previously unbeaten senior Charlie Faber of Glenbard West, in winning a Class 3A regional title at Leyden.
Bolivar had a pair of takedowns in the match, the second one with the score tied 4-4 in the third period, en route to a 6-5 decision win.
Bolivar knew what he wanted to look out for in the title match.
“People told me (Faber) was good at doubles so I’ve been training heavy hips, defense, so that helped,” Bolivar said. “My strengths are singles so I tried to go get those.”
OPRF coach Paul Collins wasn’t surprised at Bolivar’s performance against one of the best 120- pounders in Illinois.
“Eddie didn’t wrestle (Faber) in our dual meet and Charlie is a big 120-pounder,” Collins said. “Eddie’s a gamer. He’s a competitor and he’s always ready to wrestle in big matches. There are some things we need to tighten up with him but when he’s on weight and ready to go, he’s tough to beat.”
The Huskies posted a 264.5-216.5 edge over second-place Wheaton North to win the team regional title. Third-place Leyden advanced five third-place finishers to Conant and fourth-place Glenbard West advanced six wrestlers to the sectional meet.
Collins wanted to see his boys wrestle well with this year’s DuPage Valley Conference champion Falcons also competing, and he wasn’t disappointed.
OPRF finished with 11 regional champions and advanced 13 wrestlers to Saturday’s sectional meet at Conant.
Also winning regional titles for OPRF were Nico Bolivar (106), Peter Ogunsanya (113), Tony Madrigal (126), Jay Renteria (132), Jaime Hernandez (138), Eddie Ordonez (152), Drew Matticks (170), Tariq Thurman (182), Elijah Osit (195), and Chris Middlebrooks (220).
“They wrestled well. We knew it would be tough coming in here against Wheaton North and that we’d have some tough matchups with them, and we figured based on the seedings that a lot of those would be in the finals,” Collins said. “Our guys came ready to roll today.”
The only three regional champions not wearing Huskies’ colors wore Wheaton North singlets. The Falcons’ Duncan Nelson (145), Devin Donovan (160), and Nick Yanan (285) won regional titles, eight other Falcons reached the title mat and placed second, and North got one third-place finish in advancing 12 wrestlers to Conant’s sectional.
Donovan won a 5-2 decision over OPRF’s Brian Holloway on the title mat to improve his season record to 37-2.
“I practiced with (Holloway) a lot in the offseason. I knew he was strong,” Donovan said. “I just had to stay with my stuff, in my positions, and score when I could.”
Donovan is currently ranked fourth in Illinois Matmen’s Go Earn It Wrestling Apparel Class 3A rankings.
“It’s just nice finally be in regionals and it’s encouraging to have a good record coming in here,” Donovan said. “I’ve beaten a lot of guys and won close matches with guys I know I can beat this year. I’m looking forward to state because I think I can take it all.”
Glenbard West had a pair of second-place finishers in Faber and Catron Frazier (106) to lead six sectional qualifiers. Addison Trail advanced a regional runner-up in Christian Arrellano (113) and two and third-place finishers in Nick Skamra (170) and David Hernandez (285).
York got a second from Justin Miramontes (285) and a third from Austin Hoffman (145), while Proviso East’s Justin Castleberry (106) advanced to Conant by placing third.