York defends Kaneland championship

Article Source Written By: By Kevin McGavinDaily Herald Correspondent

Josh Mathiasen barely broke a sweat Saturday afternoon in Maple Park.

After a first-round bye, Mathiasen, a York senior heavyweight wrestler, had back-to-back first-period falls to ease to the championship of the Margaret Flott Invitational at Kaneland High School.

Alex Gutierrez and Matt Cozzi also captured titles for the Dukes at 120 and 132 pounds, respectively, as York defended its team championship with a 222.5-181.5 victory over Crystal Lake South.

Romeoville was third with 149 points, followed by East Aurora (112.5), Woodstock North (82.5), Proviso East (73), Naperville North (60.5), St. Charles North (56) and Kaneland (45).

“Last year was our breakthrough here,” York coach Nick Metcalf said. “All the teams are better this year, but our team is very good. We’re looking for (Mathiasen) to be our next state-placer-slash-state-champion.”

Mathiasen improved to 14-1 after returning to action last week at the rugged Flavin Invitational in DeKalb, where the Dukes went 5-1 in the bracketed dual-meet tournament to capture the consolation championship.

“I was working on perfecting my moves,” said Mathiasen, who missed two weeks with an ankle sprain. “I have the fire in me. I am ready to take it as far as I can.”

Gutierrez and Cozzi both captured their titles with second-period falls.

“It was putting in the hard work in the gym on our days off,” Gutierrez said of his championship run.

Guttierez, a junior, looks to make a deeper postseason run this winter after failing to get out of the regional the last two seasons.

“Not the outcome I wanted, but hopefully it will change this year,” Gutierrez said of his first two regional tournaments.

“When he shot on me, I defended,” Cozzi said of his victorious pin. “I reversed him. I defended him and did a go-behind move.”

Naperville North coach Tom Champion dispatched his junior-varsity lineup to the nine-team tournament.

Robert Padgett also returned to the lineup after being saddled with a nagging groin injury.

The Naperville North senior scored the lone point of the championship match at 220 pounds.

“This is my first time wrestling in two weeks,” Padgett said. “(Champion) got me into the JV to get me some matches in. I chose down and rolled out (to score the lone point on an escape).”

Runner-up Crystal Lake South had the most bountiful day in terms of crowning champions.

The Gators had back-to-back champions to start the final round with falls by Amador Castro and Christian Olsen at 106 and 113 pounds.

“I was just staying calm, trying to get my attacks,” Castro said.

Castro, a sophomore, improved to 16-3.

Olsen is a 14-2 with his first tournament title of his junior campaign.

“I was just working my stuff on top,” Olsen said. “The whole time, I was adjusting for the fall.”

Peyton Timmons’ first-period fall in the championship at 145 pounds gave the Crystal Lake South his 20th win on the season against two defeats.

“I was able to turn him and get the finish,” Timmons said of his abbreviated victory. “I pinned him with a half-Nelson. I have a lot of confidence going into the state tournament.”

One class later, the Gators’ 152-pound representative Shane Moran, a sophomore, improved to 10-1 with a 5-0 verdict over St. Charles North newcomer Drew Surges.

“I was just too weak,” said Surges, a freshman who fell to 14-3. “I wasn’t moving fast enough.”

St. Charles North crowned its lone champion at 195 pounds as Colman Gonnella had nothing but falls in his round-robin competition.

“I used a three-quarter half-Nelson,” Gonnella said. “It was very smooth. A three-quarter half-Nelson is different from a full-Nelson (an illegal move) because you’re coming from the side.”

The host Knights were short-handed as freshman Lane Robinson, a 120-pounder, finished third to pace the team.

“It was kind of a down day,” Kaneland coach Kenny Paoli said. “We were missing five or six varsity wrestlers. We wrestled a lot of lower-level guys. Guys are on vacation, guys are injured.”

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