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Wrestling: Lincoln-Way Central repeats as Lockport Regional champs

In 132 pound championship match Joey Nels(left) Lincoln-Way Central Dan Radcliffe Lockport tie up. | JCunningham/For Sun-Times Media

In the 132 pound championship match, Joey Nelson (left) of Lincoln-Way Central and Dan Radcliffe of Lockport tie up. | Jon Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 10, 2014 6:47AM



A slew of champions littered Lockport’s lineup on Saturday, but it still wasn’t enough to stop Lincoln-Way Central from rolling out of the Porter’s Class 3A Regional for the second year in a row.

After falling to the host twice in January, Lincoln-Way Central displayed its depth by sending all 14 of its wrestlers to the semifinals and advancing 10 to sectionals. The Knights won the nine-team field with 208 points behind titles from Vinnie Piunti (106), Ian Meagher (120) and undefeated Bryce Gorman (170).

“We felt like we were closing the gap,” Meagher said. “We had a lot of guys step up. We had pride and wanted to be a part of what we did last year.”

The top three individuals from each class advance to the Normal West Sectional on Saturday. Lincoln-Way Central will move on to the dual team competition after the conclusion of the individual state tournament. The Knights finished fourth in 3A last season.

“The kids who stood out for us (Saturday) were the kids that never get a chance to stand out,” Lincoln-Way Central coach Jason DePolo said. “At this regional, to have 14 placers, it just doesn’t happen.”

Lockport took second with 181.5 despite receiving a whopping six titles. Tyler Johnson remained undefeated at 195, while Vince Dietz (160), freshman Trevell Timmons (138), Dan Radcliffe (132), Shayne Oster (126) and Brian Rossi (113) joined in on the fun.

In a battle of future D-I athletes, the Stanford-bound Rossi topped Plainfield South’s Miguel Silva, a Central Michigan recruit, 3-2 in double overtime. Silva went for broke, choosing to give up a point in the second overtime with hopes of finishing the match with a takedown. Rossi survived, but it’s likely the pair will lock horns at sectionals and again in the state tournament.

The Cougars didn’t go without an individual champion, however. Sophomore Danny Saracco won the 182-pound bracket as Plainfield South finished third in the team standings. Joliet West finished fourth thanks to Nick Brown’s title at 152. Lincoln-Way East rounded out the top five after Nick Allegretti won the heavyweight bracket.

Andrew’s Joe Vanek earned the first championship for a school other than Lincoln-Way Central or Lockport. Vanek conquered the 145-pound field to improve to 29-5.

“That was one of the best 30 seconds of my life,” Vanek said of standing atop the podium. “I didn’t start wrestling until my freshman year. I thought doing something like this might have been insurmountable.”

Lincoln-Way North senior Tyler Hill — who’s built like a fire hydrant at 5-foot-6, 220 pounds — won the remaining championship for the first regional title of his career. Hill is 26-1, with his lone defeat coming to Allegretti at heavyweight.

“I’ve been working hard in practice trying to help some of my buddies on the team,” Hill said. “I’m excited for sectionals.”



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