Dual Team State Wrestling: Sandburg repeats as Class 3A champion
By Logan Malloy For Sun-Times Media February 23, 2013 10:52PM
Sandburg wrestlers hoist the first-place trophy after beating Marmion on Saturday in the Dual Team State Finalsin Bloomington. | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 25, 2013 2:41AM
BLOOMINGTON — Clear room in the trophy case. Sandburg is bringing home another state title.
The Eagles finished off another successful and particularly wild season with three victories over the cream of Illinois wrestling on Saturday at U.S. Cellular Coliseum.
The competition commenced with a 33-23 downing of Oak-Park River Forest in a thrilling quarterfinal bout, continued with a 36-23 conquest of Glenbard North in the semifinals and concluded with a second straight state championship — and fifth in the last nine years — with a 38-17 triumph over Marmion.
It was a dramatic day for Sandburg, which trailed by at least seven points in all three of its matches.
Perhaps the most stirring was its victory over Oak Park in which 182-pound senior Chris Pajak gave Sandburg a 19-18 lead it wouldn’t relinquish by stunning unbeaten state champion Joe Ariola (46-1) for a 2-1 decision.
“I thought it was going to go into overtime,” Pajak said. “I looked over at my bench and they’re like ‘You’re winning. You have 16 seconds’. All I had to do was finish it off tough the rest of the way. I did and I beat him. It was the best feeling ever.”
Ariola wasn’t the only state champ to go down.
The Huskies’ Davonte Mahomes requited a loss to Sandburg state champ C.J. Brucki after the Eagles senior knocked Mahomes from the unbeaten ranks in the state tournament.
Sandburg’s other state champs?
Colin Holler and Ricky Robertson continued their dominance, each finishing the season at 52-0.
“Individually (a state title) is great, but this is so much fun,” Holler, a South Dakota State recruit, said after beating Marmion in the finals.
“Definitely the cherry on our season,” Robertson, a Wisconsin signee, said.
Sandburg senior Bill Gore and junior John Pellegrino showed the unselfishness of the program, moving up in weight every match to better suit the needs of the team. Both went 3-0 on the day.
“This is a great feeling knowing that I was along with all my brothers and that we finished where we wanted to,” Gore said. “We all pushed each other in practice and when we got tired, we realized it’s our senior year and last year wrestling in high school and that made us want it more.”
“We worked so hard for this,” said Pellegrino, who finished third individually in state. “It feels good to send our seniors out like this.”
For three-time state finalist Sebastian Pique, this year’s championship had a particularly significant vibe.
“When (Sandburg A.D.) Bruce Scheidegger passed away, none of us believed it,” Pique said. “He was such a big part in our sport and the entire school. He’d come in and check on us and make sure we we’re going to win the state title.
“We came into this weekend saying we wanted to win and dominate for Mr. Scheidegger. We did.”