Sandburg makes a statement at Conant

By Bobby Narang

After finishing in third place in the 2022 Chris Hruska Wrestling Classic at Conant High School, Carl Sandburg wanted to send an early-season message on Saturday.

The Eagles clearly made their point, dominating the 17-team field with several outstanding performances to finish in first place with 251 points.

Chatman-Glenwood snared second place with 173.5 points and Glenbard North and Oswego tied for third with 169.5 points. Bloomington had a solid day to end in fifth place (110), just nudging out host Conant (107.5) for a top-five team placing.

Sandburg coach Clinton Polz credited a strong and motivated group of wrestlers for helping his team win the team title.

“I think the key to us winning the tournament was the contributions from all wrestlers competing in the tournament,” Polz said. “Our goal as a team was to have every individual that wrestled in the tournament place on Saturday and that included the extra non-scoring wrestlers that we were fortunate to be able to bring. We accomplished that, and all twenty wrestlers we brought placed.

“When everyone on the team contributes and pushes each other it leads to success. Our kids have done a great job of that so far this season, and that includes every kid in the program, not just the ones at Conant on Saturday.”

Rocco Hayes (113), Madden Parker (126), Ryan Hinger (144) and Ahmad Jaffal (215) won titles for Sandburg.

“We had four tournament champions and they all wrestled extremely well,” Polz said. “Rocco Hayes put on a dominating performance up a weight class at 113 and earned the outstanding wrestler award for it, pinning his way through the tournament.

“Madden Parker won one of the toughest weights at the tournament, defeating two returning state qualifiers on his way. Ryan Hinger had a dominating performance as well while also wrestling up a weight class, and finally Ahmad Jaffal was able to win the tournament also up a weight class giving himself an opportunity to decide what weight he would like to compete at this season.”

Meanwhile, Chatman-Glenwood coach Jerod Bruner credited the key to his team finishing in second place to a “great offseason and our senior lineup.”

“We are still missing a number of key guys, but we will be close to full strength soon,” Bruner said. “Anny Williams made his first tournament championship in his career. Of course, it was nice to see Drew Davis, John Ben and Tyler win, which was expected. Max (Wiezorek) had a great tournament, finishing second at 175. A kid who surprised us was Maizon Milestone, who took fifth at 165 in the only start of his third season.”

Hruska championship matches:

106 – Tyler Clarke, Chatham-Glenwood

In a tough match to close out a long day, Tyler Clarke defeated South Elgin’s Julius Avendano 6-4 in the title game. Clarke rolled through the competition with two impressive victories to set up a long and grueling match with Avendano.

Clarke, a junior, said he enjoyed walking away with a first-place medal to gain some confidence for the season, especially with senior two-time state champion Drew Davis motivating and pushing him. Two years ago, Davis captured the Class 2A state title at 106 and notched the state championship at 113 last season to run his record to 66-2 in the two-year span.

“I just had to break him down,” Clarke said of his title-match win which ran his record to 7-0. “He couldn’t really get out, so I had to keep working the turn. I was up by two and I had to keep holding him down. My goal is to win state, but that’s kind of unrealistic because I have a state champion on my team. That’s a whole different skill level.

“I hope to get there some day. I learned today to keep wrestling until the match was over. I was down a few points in my last match, but just kept wrestling.”

Avendano, a senior, is a wrestler to watch after earning two quality wins to reach the finals at 106.

Other placers — 3rd: Ray Long, Notre Dame; 4th: Nolan O’Grady, Oswego; 5th:Oscar Kalman, Sandburg; 6th: Sammy Sikorsky, Geneva; 7th: Chris Gutierrez, Glenbard North; 8th: Ryu Yamazaki, Conant

113 – Rocco Hayes, Sandburg

Hayes wrestled at 106 last season but is adjusting to wrestling at his new weight class – at least for now. He wrestled at 113 on Wednesday before the Conant meet. Hayes pinned Notre Dame’s Johnny Sheehy in the title match to run his record to 3-0 on the season.

“I just got to my offense was really key in that last match,” Hayes said. “I was happy with how I did today. I tried to get all falls. I went up a weight class. I did decent. I tried to get more on attacks. It’s been a change for me wrestling at 113, but I’m used to wrestling kids a lot taller and bigger than me. It was a change, but worked out for me today. All of this is preparation for winning a state title.”

Other placers — 3rd: Jonny Theodor, Oswego; 4th: Jaxon Ferguson, Chatham; 5th Bryce Mensik, Lake Park; 6th Isaac Velasco, Glenbard North; 7th: Mike Goolish, Conant; Anthony Lazare, South Elgin.

120 – Drew Davis, Chatham-Glenwood

Davis was one of the most storied wrestlers at the Conant meet, with his final match drawing several eyes on Mat 1. A two-time state champion, Davis pinned Glenbard North’s Dominick Marre in the title match.

“I felt good and strong,” Davis said. “I came here and kept my head level. I want to win another state title and be more dominant than I was last year and just get better at wrestling. I think I’m a lot stronger and taller this year. I’ve been working really hard all summer. I had a long offseason and just worked on my wrestling.”

Other placers — 3rd: Demetrius Carrera, South Elgin; 4th: Alejandro Cordova, Round Lake; 5th: Tyson Bruce, Sandburg; 6th: Tyler Barlow, Bloomington; 7th: Aidan Ortiz, Oswego; 8th: Nico Harris, Oswego East.

126 — Madden Parker, Sandburg

Parker, a junior, is focused on his goal to land a spot at the state tournament. He wrestled at 113 last season, placing fourth in the sectionals.

“I felt pretty good and had some close matches but came out on top,” Parker said. “The key was short offense, which helped a lot. I’ve been working on it with my coaches in practices and kept my stamina up.

“It feels good to get a confidence booster in the first tournament. It definitely helps. I’m feeling good. My goal is to place at state. I worked on my feet and got more confidence there. My bottom and top are already good, so that extra work helped out.”

Parker earned a dominating 10-0 major decision win over Conant’s Luis Flores in the championship match.

Other placers — 3rd: Kalani Khiev, Glenbard North; 4th: Grayson Kongkaeow, Round Lake; 5th: Owen Ottino, Chatham; 6th: Vincent Manfre, Oswego; 7th: Sergio Hernandez, Lake Park; 8th: M’Khi Hollins, Bloomington.

132 – Christian Chavez, Glenbard North

Standing near the main scoring area, Christian Chavez took a subdued approach to winning the 132-pound title. As several teammates congratulated him on his fall over Bloomington’s Javier Enriquez-Lynd in the title match, Chavez maintained a focused approach.

Chavez said his left shoulder is finally healthy, too.

“I usually wrestle at 126, but I bumped up this weekend,” Chavez said. “I felt better on my weight. I wanted to dominate and just felt better at 132. I was able to move good and didn’t feel as gassed. I’m going back to 126 but I put in a lot of work in the summer to get my shoulder right. It feels good now.”

Other placers — 3rd: Andrew Wendt, Geneva; 4th: Matt Goolish, Conant; 5th: Nick Nicosia, Sandburg; 6th: JR Leach, Lake Park; 7th: Emilio Chavarria, Round Lake; 8th: Mohammed Mahmoud, Oswego.

138 – John Ben Maduena, Chatham-Glenwood

John Ben Maduena was all smiles following his dominating one-day showing at Conant. The senior raised his record to 8-0 following four quality wins, including by fall over Oswego’s Brayden Swanson in his final match.

Maduena won the Conant invite title in his sophomore season at 132, but last year placed third at 126. Maduena said he was happy to get some revenge for last season’s defeat to Swanson in the semifinals.

“(Brayden) was really good in neutral and even top but my shoulders are really the only flexible part on me, so they are able to take it,” Maduena said. “He did really good defending but I caught him in the end.”

Other placers — 3rd: Brady Ritter, Sandburg; 4th: Mario Perez, De La Salle; 5th: Porfirio Govea, Curie; 6th: Trey Thompson, Glenbard North; 7th: Vaughn Hochstatter, Bloomington; 8th: Bela Mohap, Lake Park.

144 – Ryan Hinger, Sandburg

Hinger, a junior, closed out a four-win day by earning a tech fall win over Chatham-Glenwood senior Anny Williams at 144. Hinger (4-0) said he had one goal on Saturday.

“I felt strong today and confident in myself,” Hinger said. “I came into this tournament looking for nothing but first. This is a good building block and helps my confidence for upcoming tournaments and wrestling multiple matchups in one day and building my stamina. I feel a lot more confident this year in myself and my team. We’re overall doing a lot better on the mat.

Other placers — 3rd: Tim Bridges, Notre Dame; 4th: Samer Alsalah, Sandburg; 5th: Dillon Griffin, Oswego; 6th: Rusty Klug, Leyden; 7th: Brad Dollus, Chatham; 8th: Victor Chevganov, Conant.

150 – Leo Rosas, South Elgin

A sophomore, Rosas was elated with his showing, mainly because he wanted an early-season test of his conditioning after bumping up two weight classes this season. He had three of his matches decided by points, ending with a 6-2 win over Glenbard North junior Rylan Kradle in the title match.

“I had to put in that work,” Rosas said. “I’ve been working on my stamina. That was one of my weak points last year. I knew there were guys stronger and more experienced at 150, so I had to work on that gas tank and wrestle until the end. It was a long day, but it feels good to get first.

“I went out there with an elite mindset and when I was getting tired, I kept pushing the pace and didn’t get tired. My goal is to get 40 or more wins and make it downstate and place and be a champion. It was a good day.”

Other placers — 3rd: Ethan Essick, Oswego; 4th: Vince Gutierrez, Sandburg; 5th: Vince Merola, Lake Park; 6th: Patrick Young, De La Salle; 7th: Braxton Warren, Chatham; 8th: Joseph Resler, Oswego East.

157 – Tanner Cosgrove, Conant

By far, one of the day’s biggest highlights was Tanner Cosgrove’s championship match, partly due to the large crowd watching him. With the Conant losing two title matches leading up to the 157 pound finale, several Cougars were circling around Mat 1 watching Cosgrove’s battle with Oswego’s Colin O’Grady.

In a tense and emotional match, Cosgrove pulled off a 4-2 win to capture the 152-pound title, which led to a massive celebration. A big group immediately engulfed Cosgrove following his win.

“It was hard but a good match and I just tried to stay composed,” Cosgrove said. “Consistency was the key, and I kept fighting and tried to finish it hard.”
Cosgrove (4-0) said the title was particularly sweet on his home mat, in front of a lot of family and friends.

“My parents are here, my twin sister and older brother and the whole team,” Cosgrove said. “This was amazing. I didn’t start wrestling until seventh grade and never wrestled club or anything. My coaches pushed me in the wrestling room. Last year I cut from 160 to 138, but I was too weak to wrestle. This year I just took whatever spot fit me best and I haven’t been weak.

“I’m trying to make it to state. Both of my older brothers were wrestlers but didn’t make it to state. I want to get my last name up on the wall, for them, my dad and myself. I have to keep doing what my coaches tell me. It’s all about staying focused, consistent and composed in matches.”

Other placers — 3rd: Noah DeMarco, Oswego East; 4th: Noah Misukonis, Bloomington; 5th: Moe Askar, Sandburg; 6th: Adnan Askar, Sandburg; 7th: Payton Marzen, Geneva; 8th: Moses Garza, Leyden.

165 – Maddox Kirts, Bloomington

Maddox Kirts made quick work of his division by recording four easy victories, highlighted by a 10-3 decision over Oswego senior Joseph Griffin in the title match.

Even after his match, Kirts didn’t celebrate his victory. Instead, he went over to one of his coaches and worked on his technique.

“I felt energized out there,” Kirts said. “I kept the mentality I could beat anybody they put in front of me.”

Kirts said he feels like a renewed wrestler after suffering a knee injury in his sophomore year that slowed down his development and progress as a junior. He finished 38-8 last year, winning regionals and sectionals.

“Last year I came back from a double knee surgery and that was a lot of adversity,” he said. “I had a whole offseason to train after being out my entire sophomore year and last year I went to state but I feel a lot better this year. I have to train hard every day in practice, not let up and keep working hard. Today was just a little goal. I’m going for the big goal at the end of the season.”

Other placers — 3rd: Zac Ritter, Sandburg; 4th: Damond Butler, Curie; 5th: Maizon Milestone, Chatham; 6th: Erik Esquivel, Glenbard North; 7th: Cam McGoarty, Geneva; 8th: Kosta Carrera, South Elgin.

175 – Malik Warren, De La Salle.

Soon after his 4-1 win over Chatham-Glenwood’s Max Wiezorek in the 175-pound final, De La Salle sophomore Malik Warren talked about the challenge of bumping up in weight on Saturday.

“I felt pretty good after wrestling up from 165,” Warren said. “It’s a different type of environment (at 175), just bigger guys and I have to use my quickness and what my coaches taught me. That last match, he wrestled different than what my other matches had been. But in my training, we do all types of tie-ups. One of my biggest goals is to win state and team state. Last year I didn’t make it to state, but I learned it’s all about training and preparation. I have to keep on training.”

Other placers — 3rd: Josue Hernandez, De La Salle; 4th: Elias O’Neill, Lake Park; 5th: Wyatt Hochgraber, Sandburg; 6th: Jack Campbell, Conant; 7th: Fadel Alsalahi, Sandburg; 8th: Dart Garner, Leyden.

190 – Tyler Ott, Glenbard North

Glenbard North junior Tyler Ott had a solid day at 190 pounds, beating Elgin’s Fabian Ramirez 13-5 in a major decision and pinning Sandburg’s Ahmad Alomari in the title match. Ramirez bounced back to earn third place by pinning Leyden’s Hector Cisneros.

Other placers — 5th: Jim Amatore, Notre Dame; 6th: Noah Cruz, Sandburg; 7th: Evan Mueller, Conant; 8th: Mikey Urso, South Elgin.

215 – Ahmad Jaffal, Sandburg

Sandburg senior Ahmad Jaffal rounded out a big day for the Eagles by tallying a 6-2 decision over Glenbard North senior Brian Petrancosta in the 215 final. Jaffal (4-0) endured a long and tough match, pulling out the victory to add to the Eagles’ title day.

Other placers — 3rd: Joe Petit, Geneva; 4th: Sean Sporleader, Sandburg; 5th: Malic Breish, Sandburg; 6th: Terrelle Jackson, De La Salle; 7th: Jack Malenock, Notre Dame; 8th: Jack Farrell, Oswego.

285 – William Cole, Round Lake

Round Lake junior William Cole capped a four-pin day by beating De La Salle’s David McCarthy in the title match. At 6-foot-5, Cole (4-0) was an easy wrestler to spot all afternoon. After not wrestling on the varsity level in his sophomore season, Cole rose up through the ranks last season to become one of the surprise standout wrestlers in Lake County and in the state.

Other placers — 3rd: Tommy Roath, South Elgin; 4th: Stephen Carr, Bloomington; 5th: Harley Stary, Conant; 6th: Josh Edwards, Oswego East; 7th: Scott Cook, Notre Dame; 8th: Judeh Ali, Sandburg.

Conant Chris Hruska Classic championship matches

106 – Tyler Clarke (Glenwood) D 6-4 Julius Avendano (South Elgin)

113 – Rocco Hayes (Sandburg) F 2:58 Johnny Sheehy (Notre Dame)

120 – Drew Davis (Glenwood) F 1:50 Dominick Marre (Glenbard North)

126 – Madden Parker (Sandburg) MD 10-0 Luis Flores (Conant)

132 – Christian Chavez (Glenbard North) F 5:06 Javier Enriquez-Lynd (Bloomington)

138 – John Ben Maduena (Glenwood) F 3:46 Brayden Swanson (Oswego)

144 – Ryan Hinger (Sandburg) TF 4:34 Anny Williams (Glenwood)

150 – Leo Rosas (South Elgin) D 6-2 Rylan Kradle (Glenbard North)

157 – Tanner Cosgrove (Conant) D 4-2 Colin O’Grady (Oswego)

165 – Maddox Kirts (Bloomington) D 10-3 Joseph Griffin (Oswego)

175 – Malik Warren (De La Salle) D 4-1 Max Wiezorek (Glenwood)

190 – Tyler Ott (Glenbard North) F 0:42 Ahmad Alomari (Sandburg)

215 – Ahmad Jaffal (Sandburg) D 6-2 Brian Petrancosta (Glenbard North)

285 – William Cole (Round Lake) F 0:49 David McCarthy (De La Salle)

Conant Chris Hruska Classic third-place matches

106 – Ray Long (Notre Dame) F 3:20 Nolan O’Grady (Oswego)

113 – Jonny Theodor (Oswego) F 0:56 Jaxon Ferguson (Glenwood)

120 – Demetrios Carrera (South Elgin) D 4-1 Alejandro Cordova (Round Lake)

126 – Kalani Khiev (Glenbard North) D 12-6 Grayson Kongkaeow (Round Lake)

132 – Andrew Wendt (Geneva) F 3:53 Matt Goolish (Conant)

138 – Brady Ritter (Sandburg) F 3:19 Mario Perez (De La Salle)

144 – Tim Bridges (Notre Dame) F 0:34 Samer Alsalah (Sandburg)

150 – Ethan Essick (Oswego) F 2:29 Vince Gutierrez (Sandburg)

157 – Noah DeMarco (Oswego East) F 2:55 Noah Misukonis (Bloomington)

165 – Zac Ritter (Sandburg) F 3:08 Damond Butler (Curie)

175 – Josue Hernandez (De La Salle) F 1:14 Elias O’Neill (Lake Park)

190 – Fabian Ramirez (Elgin) F 1:20 Hector Cisneros (Leyden)

215 – Joe Petit (Geneva) F 0:59 Sean Sporleader (Sandburg)

285 – Tommy Roath (South Elgin) F 5:15 Stephen Carr (Bloomington)

Conant Chris Hruska Classic team standings

1. Sandburg 251, 2. Glenwood 173.5, 3. Glenbard North 169.5, 3. Oswego 169.5, 5. Bloomington 110, 6. Conant 107.5, 7. Notre Dame 97.5, 8. South Elgin 95.5, 9. De La Salle 86, 10. Lake Park 80, 11. Geneva 77, 12. Round Lake 70, 13. Leyden 60, 14. Oswego East 48, 15. Curie 27, 16. Elgin 21, 17. Conant JV 3.

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