Wrestling: Rich Central’s Moody earns sectional title
For Rich Central’s top-ranked Nkosi Moody, a state championship is the lone piece of hardware missing from a steadily growing trophy case.
Moody, a state finalist last season, took the next step Saturday, topping Oak Forest’s resilient Danny Swan 12-8 in the 106-pound finals of the Class 2A Rich East Sectional.
“I knew it was going to be a tough match in the finals,” Moody said. “I beat him 9-8 in the regional finals and I wanted to turn it up and win bigger.
“Winning state would mean a lot,” Moody added. “I’ve grown up watching the state tournament and dreaming of winning it. I came up short last year but this year it’s my time.”
Lemont’s Chris Giatras was the other top-ranked Class 2A wrestler at Rich East and he continued his tear through the 182-pound field. Giatras (40-1) downed Lincoln-Way West’s Javier Montalvo 3-2 in a hard-fought championship match.
“It’s a big relief. The anxiety has turned to excitement and I’m going to the big show,” Giatras said. “I can’t wait to wrestle on those orange and blue mats (at the University of Illinois).”
Lincoln-Way West notched tournament highs with eight finalists and five champions. Ten Lincoln-Way West wrestlers qualified for the state tournament in Champaign, which begins Thursday.
Kyle Ruettiger (113), Noah Keefe (120), Kyle Rodriguez (132), Josh Ruettiger and Cody Pedigo (160) were Lincoln-Way West champions.
Tinley Park had a champion in freshman Eric Schultz, who avenged a regional final loss to West’s Lavonte Blackful 8-4 at 138 pounds.
“I thought I wrestled perfect,” Schultz said. “I pushed the tempo as hard as I could for six minutes.”
Rich East’s Kenneth Naylor (170) and Rich South’s John Kriha (145) also captured sectional titles.