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Wrestling: Strong outing at Dvorak buoys Marmion

Marmion's Dylan Duncan (106) shown wrestling earlier this month against Montini's Jimmy Pawelski took fourth Dvorak Tournament.  | JLangham~for

Marmion's Dylan Duncan (106), shown wrestling earlier this month against Montini's Jimmy Pawelski, took fourth at the Dvorak Tournament. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 3, 2013 6:17AM

Marmion placed fourth at this season’s Dvorak Tournament, a two-day, 33-team affair hosted by Harlem High School and considered arguably the toughest regular-season tournament in Illinois.

National power St. Edward of Ohio won the Dvorak team title, with Montini second and Marist placing third.

“We were missing two starters but I was happy with the way we wrestled,” Marmion coach Ryan Cumbee said. “I thought we represented ourselves well. These guys are making me look good.”

Marmion had seven medal-winners at the Dvorak, led by a pair of second-placers in Johnny Jimenez (120) and George Fisher (132). Both lost close title matches, with Fisher losing a 6-4 decision to St. Edward’s Dean Heil, the third-ranked 132-pounder in the country per Intermat.

Fisher is currently ranked No. 14 in the national poll.

“I was very impressed with the tournament George wrestled,” Cumbee said. “He deserves to be ranked right up there with the best wrestlers in the nation.”

Cody Snodgrass (195) placed third for Marmion, which got a pair of fourths from Dylan Duncan (106) and Alex Fritz (285), a sixth from Trace Carello (145), and a seventh from Riley DeMoss (152).

“Riley DeMoss is a freshman and in my opinion he is the MVP of our team right now, wrestling against some of the best juniors and seniors around,” Cumbee said. “And I think Alex Fritz fought some nerves on Day One but on Day Two he was a different wrestler. He’s now an athletic heavyweight and he expects to be on the podium at the end of the year.”

Like every senior wrestler in Illinois, East Aurora heavyweight Frederico Diaz knows that this year represents his last chance to make some noise at the high school level, and thus far he’s making it count.

“He’s really having a good year,” Tomcats coach Ed Davison said. “He just missed making it downstate last year and he’s 7-2 this year. One of his losses is to (Neuqua Valley’s undefeated Andrew) Geers and his other loss was to a tough kid (Mike Hobbs) at Downers Grove South.

“He’s a senior, this is his last shot and he’s wrestling a lot more aggressively. He’s 260 and wrestles like a smaller heavyweight.”

Both Diaz and Raul Ochoa (113) brought home third-place medals at this year’s Downers South tournament.

“Ochoa made it to sectionals last year and he’s just a scrappy 113-pounder,” Davison said. “He’s got a nice shot and he’s a pretty tenacious kid.”

Davison is relying on Isreal Vasquez (145), Fernando Navarro (132), and Junior Corral-Nelson (152) to provide winning records this year, and the Tomcats have a freshman in David Ruiz who’s ready to turn a corner.

“David is starting to figure out what it takes to wrestle at the varsity level. He’s an athletic kid and once he gains a little more confidence he’ll be fine,” Davison said.

Ruiz is the younger brother of former Tomcat Hector Ruiz, who won an individual title at 135 pounds at last year’s Upstate Eight Conference meet.

Oswego placed ninth at the 58th Annual Berman Holiday Wrestling Classic, hosted by Palatine, getting an individual title from senior Max Larsen (16-2 at 160). Top-seeded Larsen went 4-0, capped by a 12-2 major decision win on the title mat against Downers Grove North’s Nicky Bonomo.

“Last year I worried too much about who I was wrestling against. This year, I don’t care,” Larsen said. “I haven’t been taken down yet this year and I’m just going out there and focusing on what I do.”

The Panthers also got a third-place finish from Andrew McFall (18-3 at 106), a fourth from Nick Schultz (15-7 at 126), and a fifth from Max Hively (8-4 at 195).

Metea Valley also competed at the Berman, placing 10th and getting a pair of second-place finishes from Devin Kane (23-4 at 126) and Breon Hoosier (14-2 at 170).

Unseeded freshman Kane beat the third and fourth-seeded wrestlers before battling to a 6-4 decision loss on the title mat to the top-ranked wrestler in Illinois in Class 2A, per Illinois Best Weekly, in Richmond-Burton’s Cameron Kennedy (25-0).

As an unseeded freshman going up against a top-ranked and unbeaten senior, Kane was ready for the challenge.

“I had to get used to wrestling against older kids at the beginning of the year, but it’s not such a big deal anymore,” Kane said. “I’m getting more confident as the year goes on.”

Sam Elston (15-17 138) finished sixth for Metea Valley, while Axle Ariza (18-11 at 113), Cole Lettieri (17-11 at 132), and Sam Freedlund (20-11 at 220) each finished seventh.

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