LAKE VILLA – Even during its heyday a few years ago when Crystal Lake Central was challenging for dual team state championships and had multiple individual state champions yearly, it never got everyone out of sectionals to the state tournament.
The Tigers can cross that accomplishment off after placing their seven qualifiers in the top three at the Lakes Sectional to earn a trip to the state finals beginning Thursday in Champaign.
In total, the area qualified 21 at Lakes with three from Richmond-Burton and Harvard, two each from Woodstock, Marian Central and Hampshire and one each from Woodstock North and Johnsburg.
Central’s Mike Petersen defeated Johnsburg’s Branden Peshek, 2-0, in the 138-pound championship match to go up, 2-1, in their third finals showdown in as many weeks. Petersen also won at the Fox Valley Conference Tournament and Peshek won at the Hampshire Regional.
After losing at regionals to Peshek, Petersen said he pored over video of the match and worked in practice on what he did wrong. With both going to state, the showdown could continue for another week.
“All week, I practiced on what [Peshek] was going to do,” Petersen said. “If I see him at state, I’m sure it’s going to be a close match.”
In the first period of the Mike Zelasco’s championship match against Montini’s Derrick Curry, things got a little slappy. The Crystal Lake Central wrestler said he wasn’t happy with how Curry was using his hands, particularly on moves going out of bounds.
“I was a little mad,” Zelasco said. “It got me really fired up.”
The intimidation worked in Zelasco’s favor as he was aggressive offensively and recorded multiple takedowns in a 9-3 win.
Also for the Tigers, Logan Lundelius at 138, Kyle Fugiel (170) and Andrew Marsden (195) all placed second. Lenny Petersen (120) and Romeo McKnight (220) both placed third.
Tigers’ coach Justen Lehr said his team had a good week of practice heading into sectionals.
“You could almost see it coming,” Lehr said of their sectional success. “We’ve got to carry that into state.”
Also winning a sectional title was Richmond-Burton’s Garrett Sutton at 160 in a 25-10 technical fall win against Carmel’s Joe Salvi. Sutton was able to take Salvi down at will in racking up the points.
Sutton is quick and aggressive on his feet in getting to an opponent’s legs.
“I’m always working for takedowns but not getting too sloppy,” Sutton said.
Also qualifying for R-B were Gavin Sutton with a second-place finish at 113 and Grant Sutton, who had his first loss of the season in the championship semifinals but came back to place third.
Harvard sends three to state, led by Adam Freimund with a second place at 285. Matt Wheeler (160) and Zach Martin (195) placed fourth for the Hornets.
Woodstock has state qualifiers for the first time since 2007. Kevin Zange placed third at 145 and Nicholas Sundberg (152) placed fourth.
Blue Streaks coach Jon Grell said it’s especially gratifying because both Sundberg and Zange are sophomores.
“They set a new standard,” Grell said. “It doesn’t matter how old you are it’s how hard you wrestle.”