Wrestling: Thornton’s Williams a sectional champion
Kris Williams didn’t get too down after losing and he won’t get too high after winning.
That’s the approach the Thornton sophomore has to take in his ongoing battle for 113-pound state supremacy with Marist junior Mark Duda.
After losing 5-3 to Duda in the Marist Regional final a week earlier, Williams evened the score with a 3-2 victory Saturday in the Class 3A Shepard Sectional championship.
“This week I just came out and attacked a little bit more,” said Williams (16-1), who will go for his second state title next weekend at Assembly Hall in Champaign.
“They told me when he was taking shots, he was open to be scored on,” Williams added. “Every time he shot, I shot in and capitalized. Last week even though I lost, I still knew I could beat him. I just needed to open up more.”
Williams wasn’t the only one who turned a Marist Regional loss into a sectional title. At 160, Marist’s Peter Andreotti (34-3) got a late takedown to edge Sandburg’s C.J. Brucki. Last week, Brucki used a third-period surge to beat Andreotti 9-7.
“No excuses, my gas tank was awful (at the regional),” said Andreotti, who stayed late at practice all week to make sure that didn’t happen again. “I just learned how to defend everything he did.”
Andreotti was one of a meet-best four champs for Marist, which along with Sandburg qualified 10 wrestlers for state. Two of the other RedHawk champs had particularly memorable finals.
At 126, Nick Gasbarro (28-14) scored a five-point move in the closing seconds of regulation to erase an 11-6 deficit and then won 13-12 in overtime.
“My coaches always taught me never to give up and keep wrestling till the final whistle,” Gasbarro said. “Something like that really shifts momentum. I think I had the advantage going into overtime.”
Ethan Benoit (24-9) didn’t have to worry about extra time after getting a takedown with two seconds left to beat Mount Carmel’s Jimmy Mickens 6-5 in the 182 final. Marist’s Tom Howell (34-5) beat Sandburg’s Bill Gore in the 220-pound final for the second straight week, winning 7-2 this time.
Five wrestlers stayed perfect with titles. Brother Rice freshman Rudy Yates (38-0) won a technical fall in the 106 final, while Sandburg teammates Colin Holler (170) and Ricky Robertson (195) are both 44-0 after getting a decision and major decision in the finals. Mount Carmel’s Bryce Brill, who had a tooth knocked out in practice earlier in the week, is 45-0 after a tech fall in the 145 final. Hinsdale Central 285-pounder Brian Allen also is 44-0 after a major in the title match.
Marmion had two champs among seven qualifiers: Johnny Jimenez (44-2) at 120 and George Fisher (43-4) at 132. Also winning were Downers Grove North’s Cullen Cummings (43-1) at 138 and Sandburg’s Mitch Cook (34-8) at 152.
Marist also advanced three runners-up: Duda, David Kasper at 120 and Alex Benoit at 170. The RedHawks also qualified Mario Leveille (third at 132), Matt Sears (fourth at 138) and Jakada Hull (fourth at 145).
Sandburg had three second-place finishers in John Pellegrino (138), Brucki and Gore. Also advancing for the Eagles were Sebastian Pique (third, 120), Jim Pellegrino (fourth, 113), Jake Vales (fourth, 126) and Chris Pajak (182).
St. Rita had four qualifiers: Jake Silzer (fourth, 106), Mike O’Connor (second, 132), Jack Sears (third, 170) and Ben Threloff (second, 195).
Mount Carmel had two more qualifiers besides Brill: runners-up Notay Jackson (152) and Jimmy Mickens (182).
Brother Rice also advanced Nuntrae Jackson (third, 160), while T.F. South qualified Joe Young (third, 182) and Corinthian McBridge (fourth 285).
Also advancing were 106 runner-up Santo Marciano, of Shepard, and Richards’ Deion Carter, who was fourth at 152.