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Wrestling: Lincoln-Way Central claims invite crown

Updated: January 16, 2014 7:08AM

Lincoln-Way Central let out a roar in the jungle this week.

Two days after beating Sandburg in a dual meet, the Knights had a 271-244.5 edge over Libertyville to win the Mickey Marchese Invitational on Saturday.

After placing fourth in Class 3A last season, the Knights are reminding the wrestling community they’re still one of Illinois’ top-shelf wrestling programs.

Not that they’re losing any sleep over lack of recognition.

“Honestly, I haven’t even looked at the rankings,” Knights senior Joey Nelson said. “We don’t really talk about that kind of stuff. But I knew we would have a solid lineup this year.”

Nelson (132) was one of six champions for Central, whose 13 place-winners won nine of their medal-round matches in Hoffman Estates. Central went 6-for-7 on the title mat.

Vinnie Piunti (106), Ian Meagher (120), Bryce Gorman (170), Sean Kelly (195), and Bryan Ditchman (285) also won titles for Central, while Brandon Dominski placed second at 160.

Ditchman, a sophomore, escaped in overtime to win 3-2 over a returning state qualifier in Libertyville’s Chris McDermand. Gorman (14-0) remained undefeated after the night’s marquee title match. He won a 4-3 decision over previously unbeaten Kayne MacCallum (10-1) of Libertyville.

Each wrestler had a takedown in an even battle.

“I knew he was a really good wrestler and he’s got a gas tank,” Gorman said. “I just wanted to win the match on my feet and I’ll probably see him down at state.”

Libertyville had three champions in Steve Polakowski (126), Nick Andrews (145) and Kevin Barbian (220). Polakowski (11-1) posted a technical fall win and two major decisions en route to being named the tournament’s outstanding wrestler.

“I was moving on my feet, keeping my pace up and not getting frustrated,” Polakowski said after his 14-3 major decision over Notre Dame’s Jake Barzowski (18-1). “I was getting frustrated in some of my closer matches but now I’m not letting it bother me.”

Third-place Notre Dame had champions in Jimmy Gallardo (113) and Marco Orlandi (160). Willowbrook had two champs in Matt Rowland (152) and Jake Kroeger (182), and Bolingbrook’s Elijah Bavaro (138) rounded out the field of champions.

Orlandi (17-1) trailed 2-1 after a period in his title match against Dominski (10-4) before scoring three takedowns in an 8-4 win.

“(Dominski) was strong so I knew I was going to have to use my speed to beat him,” Orlandi said. “And I can usually use my conditioning to wear guys down.”

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