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Wrestling: Tinley Park’s McDonald rallies to win 132-pound championship

Chicago 2/15/14--Johnathan Gahagan St. Laurence tries make Jake Domke Marian Catholic release his grip during 138 lbs championship match 2A

Chicago, 2/15/14--Johnathan Gahagan, of St. Laurence, tries to make Jake Domke, of Marian Catholic, release his grip during the 138 lbs championship match at the 2A De La Salle sectional. | Vincent D. Johnson/for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 17, 2014 11:53AM



Tinley Park senior David McDonald knows how to mount a comeback.

After falling behind 8-0 to Riverside-Brookfield’s Antonio Ochoa in the first period of their championship bout, McDonald’s chances to win Saturday’s Class 2A De La Salle Sectional looked grim.

“I guess I was moving too fast for my own heart,” McDonald said.

But McDonald managed to rein in his pulse and cut the gap to 10-6 in the second period. He then scored a late takedown in the third to tie it at 12 and force overtime.

McDonald, a three-sport athlete and the South Suburban Blue’s cross country champ last fall, showed off his top-notch gas tank. He secured a takedown just 10 seconds into overtime for a 14-12 victory at 132 pounds.

“I think my conditioning is a little something-something on the side that helps me in overtime matches like this,” McDonald said. “When other people are tired, it gives me an advantage. I guess that was my advantage (Saturday).”

Bremen’s Javier Soto was another unwavering champ. Coach Mike Collins called Soto “an animal” and the “hardest working guy on the team.” Soto pinned his way through the 182-pound field and has yet to go the distance in postseason action after securing two falls in regional play.

“I try to be relentless and break people’s spirit,” Soto said. “Winning is awesome, but I just love wrestling.”

Oak Forest, fresh off its first regional title since 2009, sent five to the finals and received titles from returning state champ Danny Swan and Alan Durham. Swan (38-1) defeated Marian’s Josh Jones for the 113-pound title. Durham won with a technical fall at 120.

St. Laurence’s Johnny Gahagan booked his fourth trip to state when he bulled through the 138-pound field, bumping his record to 37-0. Gahagan, a transfer from Oak Park-River Forest, pushed the Vikings to a strong year alongside his dad, Jim, who was named head coach this season.

“It was pretty good,” Gahagan said of his performance, “but obviously my best has to be next week.”

Rich Central’s Jabari Moody, Marian Catholic sophomore Jose Champagne and Lindblom heavyweight Duece Rachal also remained unbeaten.

Moody, a 106-pound junior, topped Oak Forest’s Francis Edelen (38-3) for the second time in as many weeks. He jumped to 33-0 with a dominant 15-5 victory in a clash of state title contenders. At regionals, Moody had won 9-5.

“I think I neutralized the trip he was going for last week,” Moody said. “I thought I did pretty good out there.”

Champagne, a state qualifier last season with Montini, climbed to 26-0 when he pinned Bremen’s Ryan Foster (23-3) for the 152-pound crown. Rachal went to 26-0 with his win over St. Laurence’s Frank Tomaskovic (34-8) in the final title match.

Other champions included Lemont’s Egan Berta (126) and Jim Brennan (145), Simeon’s Antoine Cobb (160), Tinley Park’s Eric Schultz (170) St. Ignatius’ Patrick Mulkerin and Hyde Park’s Thomas Hawkins (220).

The top four individuals from each class advanced to the state tournament at the University of Illinois, which runs Thursday through Saturday.



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