Wrestling: Area’s best prepare for state
By Gary Larsen For Sun-Times Media February 13, 2013 5:20PM
Marmion's Johnny Jimenez gets the upper hand on Marist's David Kasper during the 120-pound championship at the Class 3A Shepard Sectional. | John Booz~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 15, 2013 1:36PM
Oswego East coach Michael Jezioro will bring sophomore Zach Prinz to this weekend’s individual state finals, and Jezioro likely echoed the way every wrestling coach feels heading into Champaign.
“All of the matches at the state tournament are going to be big, close matches,” Jezioro said. “Our goal is for Zach to come back with a medal and be an all-state wrestler.”
Prinz (33-4 at 170) and Oswego’s Max Larson (31-3 at 160) and Andrew McFall (33-7 at 106) will make up the Oswego contingent downstate this weekend. Larson was one of three area Class 3A wrestlers that head downstate as sectional champions.
The area’s other two sectional champs are Marmion’s Johnny Jimenez (44-2 at 120) and George Fisher (43-4 at 132). Also advancing for Marmion were Anthony Bosco (33-8 at 106), Jake Field (30-8 at 126), Trace Carello (32-14 at 145), Cody Snodgrass (42-8 at 195) and Alex Fritz (35-13 at 285).
“Seven wrestlers coming out of that (Shepard) sectional is a pretty nice accomplishment,” Marmion coach Ryan Cumbee said. “We’re confident that all seven of them can do well this weekend.”
Jimenez is a two-time state champion in Class 2A and Fisher won a 2A title in 2011. Both are seeking their first Class 3A titles. Both Jimenez and Fisher are ranked No. 1 in their weight classes by Illinois Matmen, but neither received top seeds in their respective 16-man brackets in Champaign.
“You can’t keep guys from looking at the bracket but not one of our guys is seeded first,” Cumbee said. ”That, in and of itself, is motivation. It’s motivating these guys more than I could ever do.”
Waubonsie’s Jimmy Davis (41-5 at 132), Howard Beatty (35-6 at 138) and Anthony Touchstone (31-8 at 220) all advanced, and Warriors coach Brad Caldwell is not surprised.
“They have been an integral part of our team winning conference and regional championships and leading us against Minooka next Tuesday for a chance to get to team state,” Caldwell said.
Marmion, Waubonsie, and Class 1A Plano are all still alive in team dual competition.
Plano advanced seven wrestlers to the state finals in sectional champions Ivan Lopez (31-12 at 138), Wes Brown (43-3 at 160) and Derrick Maisonet (44-1 at 220) — along with Jake Wilson (34-10 at 106), Shawn Wollenweber (32-10 at 132), Zach Tomac (20-11 at 145) and Junior Nunez (28-7 at 285).
Competing in Class 2A are Kaneland sectional champions Dan Goress (38-3 at 145) and Zach Theis (285), plus teammate Esai Ponce (33-5 at 132), while Sandwich’s Jesse Wood (28-10 at 120) also advanced.
Geneva’s Brad Martens (40-7 at 120) and Metea Valley’s Breon Hoosier (170) advanced to the 3A finals. Like Oswego East’s Prinz, Martens and Hoosier are their programs’ lone representatives in Champaign.
“Breon is feeling great and he’s ready for the state meet,” Metea coach Claudio Torres said. “He’s very capable of placing very high at the state tournament and I see him having a great weekend.”
Jezioro feels the same way about Prinz.
“He has found ways to win close, big matches and all of the matches at the state tournament are going to be big, close matches,” Jezioro said. “We expect Zach to go out and compete at a high level with the best wrestlers in the state.”