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Old 02-21-2014
Rob Sherrill Rob Sherrill is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 1,260
Might as well hand out the hardware now

Team race? What team race?

We’ve clamored for years, and with good reason, for team scoring to return to the individual state tournament. Normally, it adds plenty of drama to the state tournament experience. This year, however, the team races are a mere afterthought.

At the conclusion of the semifinals, the closest team race in any of the three classes stands at 68 points. That’s right – the closest. That’s the margin Oak Park-River Forest leads Lockport by in Class 3A as we head into Saturday’s consolation rounds.

OPRF leads Lockport, 130.5-62.5, with five finalists. Montini, with nine in the Grand March, has more than doubled the score of second-place Washington. Montini has 208.5 points to lead the Panthers (92.5) by 114 points, with Crystal Lake Central a close third with 83.

Dakota (157) and its six finalists hold a 73-point lead over Byron in 1A. None of the three leaders can be caught on Saturday.

Will a record be set?

The record for individual state champions in a single state tournament remains five, which has been accomplished four times: by Mahomet-Seymour in 1989, by Montini in 2002 and 2004 and by Marmion Academy in 2011.

Once again, the Broncos will have an opportunity to break their own record.

Once again, however, they may come up short. Only Vince Turk (138) and defending champions Chris Garcia (145) and Xavier Montalvo (170) can be considered solid favorites, and Turk will have to beat defending champion Randle Taborn of Springfield to win his first title.

Five finalists, Kegan Calkins (126), Luke Fortuna (152), Anthony Ferraro (195), Edgar Ruano (220) and Michael Johnson (285), all could win, but all five are involved in tossups. Defending champion Ferraro and Ruano will be hard-pressed to repeat their sectional victories over finals opponents Andrew Marsden of Crystal Lake Central and Nate Magiera of Wauconda, and all Johnson has to do to win his first title is beat defending champion Tanner Farmer of Highland in a battle of nationally-ranked heavyweights.

And as good a second half as he’s had, Dylan Duncan (120) is the underdog against state champion Kyle Akins of Sycamore.

Oak Park-River Forest’s Jason Renteria (106), Isaiah White (138), Larry Early (145), Kamal Bey (160) and Davonte Mahomes (170) would help the Huskies tie the record with a 5-for-5 finals run. No team has ever won five state championships in the state’s highest classification.

Dakota appears assured of three champions, with Josh Alber (132) ready to close out a career for the ages and J.J. Wolfe (138) and Carver James (152), likely the second-best wrestlers in the classification, also seemingly sure winners.

Dillon Swift (106) split with his finals opponent, Brady Wilsie of Byron, in the regional and sectional, with Wilsie prevailing last week. But Greg Krulas (145) lost 12-3 to his finals opponent, Jake Snow of Sterling Newman, in the sectional final last week. Prentice Walls (120), whose reversal with six seconds remaining toppled previously-unbeaten Jarrid Braunagel of Belleville Althoff, 2-1 in the semifinals, has been pinned three times by his finals opponent, Nelson Baker of Byron, including the regional and the sectional.

Should history repeat itself, Baker would become the first wrestler to pin his way to a state title since Austin Marsden of Crystal Lake Central did it in 2011.

Last edited by Rob Sherrill; 02-22-2014 at 10:35 AM.
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