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Old 01-21-2007
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Harvard rolls to title at BNC

BY JAY TAFT
Rockford Register Star

HARVARD — The Harvard Hornets steamrolled the rest of the Big Northern Conference field to run away with the team title Saturday, outscoring second-place Oregon by nearly 100 points for the crown.

The hosts earned berths into 10 of the 14 finals, and all but one Hornet placed in the BNC tournament. Both of Harvard’s No. 1-ranked wrestlers rolled to conference championships as the school reeled in seven titles.

“This was a great effort by our kids. We’ve won at both levels the past two years, and we feel very fortunate where we’re at right now,” said Harvard coach Tim Haak after his team scored 245 points. “This is just a stepping stone for us. There’s a lot more to do this year.”

Harvard’s top two wrestlers, Rob Brady at 140 pounds and Sergio Figueroa at 103 (both ranked No. 1 by Illinois Matmen), claimed BNC titles with their 30th victories of the season.

Richmond-Burton, which dropped into third place during the finals, had a string of three champions at the higher weights, including highly-touted Jordan Blanton. The junior 171-pounder has never lost a high school match, and he has yet to surrender an offensive point this season.

He did not falter Saturday.

“I don’t worry about whether I give up (an offensive point) or not. It’s all about winning,” said Blanton, who earned a tech fall in the finale to climb to 30-0 on the year. “If someone takes me down eventually, that’s OK. My goal is to win state again, and that’s it.”

Blanton’s teammates Joby Bodi (160 pounds) and Jake Vetter (189) upped their win totals to over 25 with titles Saturday.

In one of the more anticipated matches of the day, No. 2 Steve Andrukaitis of Rockford Lutheran took on No. 3 Randall Peterson of Oregon for the 125-pound crown. Peterson took control in the third period, eventually snagging a 9-2 win — and momentum at that weight class headed into the postseason.

“I was a little frustrated in the first period, but I came back and started finishing my moves later on,” said Peterson, who rose to 28-2 on the year. “I just got a little more aggressive later on in the match, and that made the difference. He’s tough, though. I’m sure I’ll see him again — probably soon.”
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