Riojas’ Big Win Over Meneweather Highlights Wacky 2A Quarterfinal Round

By ROB SHERRILL
Illinois Matmen

After a Class 1A quarterfinal round that went mostly according to form, things got a little crazy in the 2A quarterfinals.

It started with the battle of the Washingtons at 132, where We Rachal of Chicago Washington pinned Dylan Thurston of Washington – the “other” Washington – in just 50 seconds, and reached its peak at 170 as David Riojas of Chicago Mount Carmel scored a stunning 14-0 major decision over two-time state champion Randy Meneweather of Washington.

RiojasMene02

Despite taking those hits, Washington still advanced six to the semifinals, the same number as the Caravan and Marian Catholic. Tyler Delaware gave the Panthers a huge lift at 120 with his 7-3 victory over top-ranked Mike Tortorice of Carmel, and of the foursome of Punke brothers, Dack (113), Blaize (138) and Ryder (160), joined him in the semifinals. Kyle Goin (152) and state champion Jacob Warner (182), who picked up his second technical fall, also advanced for Washington.

Caravan wrestlers joining Riojas there are Yahya Thomas (126), Kendall Coleman (132), Jake Tucker (152), Johnny Drozd (182) and Matthew Reyes (285). Having put an end to a potential Meneweather-Kordell Norfleet title matchup, Riojas could instead face Norfleet himself in what would be a rematch of the Lemont sectional final, won by Norfleet.

Travis Ford-Melton (106), Donnell Washington (120), Carlos Champagne (126), Josh Jones (132) and Jose Champagne (160) are Marian’s other semifinalists.

Defending state champions Hunter Grau (145) of Geneseo and Joshua King (285) of Hinsdale South also advanced.

Class 3A

Rudy Yates picked up his second first-period technical fall of the tournament, heading toward a potential final showdown against Dylan Duncan of Montini at 132. The technical fall was the 31st of the season and the 67th of his career, extending his state records with his 86th consecutive win.

Yates was among six Sandburg wrestlers to advance to the semifinals. Joining him were Louie Hayes (113), Kevin Stearns (120), Christian Robertson (138), Ben Schneider (160) and Patrick Brucki (182).

For his part, Duncan matched Yates with a quarterfinal technical fall of his own. Joey Melendez (106), state champion Real Woods (113) and Jimmy Pawelski (126) also advanced to the semifinals for the Broncos.

Oak Park-River Forest led all schools with nine semifinalists, led by two-time state champion Isaiah White (160). Also advancing were Robert Campos (113), Jason Renteria (120), Anthony Madrigal (126), Gabe Townsell (132), Jaime Hernandez (138), Michael Ordonez (145), Rolliann Sturkey (170) and Allen Stallings (220). Hernandez scored a takedown with five seconds remaining for a 3-1 victory over Montini’s Will Lewan, avenging a regular-season loss.

Two-time state champion Austin O’Connor (145) of St. Rita and state champions Austin Gomez (126) of Glenbard North and Nathan Traxler (182) of Marmion Academy also advanced. Anthony Cheloni (132), A.J. Jaffe (138) and Trace Carello (152) joined Traxler as semifinalists for the Cadets.

Class 1A

Dakota’s killer group of middle weights advanced to the semifinals. The Indians’ three defending champions, seniors Alec Henze (113) Greg Krulas (145) and Nathan Olsen (160), were quarterfinal winners, along with senior Jared Packer (152) and junior Andrew Wenger (170). All seven of Dakota’s qualifiers remain alive for state medals.

Henze and the defending 106-pound state champion, senior Joey Rivera of Coal City, remain in a collision course toward a possible finals match between defending champions. Both won their quarterfinal matches easily, Henze by technical fall ad Rivera by a 17-3 major decision.

Coal City advanced four to the semifinals. Joining Rivera are Alex Friddle (106), Jake Hiles (120) and Riley Kauzlaric (195). Byron unbeatens Brady Wilsie (126) and Nolan Baker (132) both pinned their first two opponents and were joined by Jacob Elsbury (182) in the semifinals. Belleville Althoff also advanced three to the semifinals: Chase Bittle (120), Jarrid Braunagel (138) and Danny Braunagel (145).

Wilsie, Kyle Betourne (182) of Bishop McNamara and Wesley Kibler (195) of St. Joseph-Ogden were other defending champions advancing to the semifinals. However, for the first time in recent memory, a defending champion went two-and-out. Quinton Ball (285) of Mercer County, who lost in overtime in the first round Thursday, was eliminated Friday when he was pinned by Will Monroe of Sparta.

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