It’s that point in the season when it’s time to perform at the top of your abilities or go home, as there are no second chances. That’s because the area wrestling teams have entered the postseason tournament, where you either qualify to keep your season’s alive by advancing on or start looking forward towards next year.

Fortunately for the Johnsburg and Richmond-Burton wrestling teams, they both had several wrestlers step things up at the right time to prolong their seasons and represent their teams in a positive way. They both participated in IHSA Class 2A Regionals Feb. 2nd hosted by Hampshire High School.

By the conclusion, it was the Skyhawks that came away as the runner-up at the event with a team score of 101 points as the Rockets weren’t far behind in third place at 97.50 out of eight teams.

For the fifth consecutive year now, Crystal Lake Central took home the first-place crown with a commanding top score of 173 as they landed five individual titles along the way.

The top three individuals within each of the respective weight classes advance onto the IHSA Sectionals Feb. 9th in Antioch. With the above said, the Skyhawks qualified five individuals for the sectionals by having two firsts, a pair of seconds and a third, while the Rockets will be represented by five wrestlers including three of them coming away with titles and one each with a second and a third placing.

Johnsburg wrestlers to be crowned the best of their weight classes were seniors Christian Nugent and Brandon Boyle at 195 pounds and heavyweight. Both Nugent and Boyle went 2-0 with a bye at the meet to improve to 30-3 and 25-6 on the year.

Richmond sophomore Grant Sutton, his senior cousin Cameron Kennedy and junior brother Garrett Sutton also secured titles at 120, 126 and 152 pounds. Gr. Sutton was 2-0 with a bye to move to 35-1 as Kennedy pushed his mark to an impressive 39-0 after going 2-0 with a bye and Ga. Sutton was 3-0 on the day to increase his perfect season to 31-0.

Nugent proceeded his bye with a victory in the semifinals and then escaped Crystal Lake Central’s Brent Pfaff for a competitive 1-0 win in the finals. Following a bye, Boyle began with a pin over Marian Central’s Gavin Dineen in 1:09 of the semifinals and then made CLC’s Nathan Baginski fall in 3:20 of the championship bout.

Gr. Sutton’s title run consisted of following up a bye with a pin against CLC’s Ian Zeiller in 1:37 of the semis and then slipped past Johnsburg’s Branden Peshek by a slim 3-2 decision in the finals. Kennedy was well rested following his opening bye, as he recorded a 19-2 technical fall over Hampshire’s Kris Johnson in the semifinals and finished things off with a fall in 3:59 against Johnsburg’s Brian McKay in the championship match.

Ga. Sutton had to work a little harder for his title as he had to wrestle all three matches including pinning Hampshire’s Joe McAlpin in 1:17 of the quarterfinals. He accomplished the same over Woodstock North’s Rob Davis in 1:23 of the semifinals and rounding the day out with a 9-3 victory against Marengo’s Damon Cloe in the finals.

Johnsburg sophomore Peshek and senior McKay took home runner-up finishes at 120 and 126 pounds, as their only defeats came in the finals. Each wrester was 2-1 at the meet, as Peshek moved to 30-6 and McKay to 27-8 on the season.

Peshek pinned Woodstock’s Fernando Olivas in 1:44 of the first round, made Woodstock North’s Ben Brucki fall in 5:54 of the second only to fall by a mere point at 3-2 to R-B’s Gr. Sutton in the finals. McKay opened with pin in a mere 51 seconds over Marengo’s Bailey Miller and then doubled up CLC’s Mike Peterson 4-2, before being pinned himself by RB’s Kennedy in 3:59 of the title hilt.

The only other second-place finish came from R-B senior Zach Schuler (15-8), who went 2-1 on the day at 132 pounds. He pinned MC’s Emitt Piesert in 1:45 of the quarters, got past Woodstock’s Thomas Rodriguez 5-4 in the semis and was then pinned by CLC’s Logan Lundelius in the championship.

Two other wrestlers qualified for the sectionals by placing third including Johnsburg senior DJ Leppien at 160 pounds and Richmond junior Vince Battaglia at 220. Leppien (10-20) was 3-1 at the meet and Battaglia (5-13) was 1-1 with two byes on the day, as they each won their third-place matches by way of pins.

Just missing keeping their seasons alive by moving on with fourth-place finishes were Richmond senior Huber Herrera (12-14) at 113 pounds, Johnsburg freshman Brandon Hasenbuhler (5-12) at 106, sophomore Nash Miller (9-14) at 132, sophomore Eric Wagner (4-22) at 182 and freshman David Mueller (11-13) at 220.



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