Wrestling: Lincoln-Way Central’s Nelson turns tables, claims crown at 132
By Logan Malloy For Sun-Times Media February 15, 2014 10:08PM
Updated: March 17, 2014 11:53AM
There’s quite a rivalry brewing between Lincoln-Way Central’s Joey Nelson and Lockport’s Dan Radcliffe. As two of the top 132-pounders in the state, the pair clashed for the fourth time this season at the Class 3A Normal West Sectional on Saturday.
But unlike their three previous bouts — Radcliffe had prevailed by one point in each — Nelson turned the tables and escaped with a 3-2 victory.
“I wanted it so bad,” Nelson said, climbing to 40-5. “The last couple weeks, I’ve been working really hard for this. We match up really good. We’re both heavy on the head. I wouldn’t say we’re the best of friends, but we both respect each other.”
Nelson was joined at the top of the podium by teammates Vinnie Piunti and Bryce Gorman, who improved to 41-0 at 170 pounds.
Central coach Jason DePolo was especially impressed with Piunti, a 106-pound sophomore who failed to crack the Knights’ starting lineup last season.
“Going from not starting to winning a sectional is a pretty good story for us,” DePolo said.
In all, it was a big tournament for Southland schools. Lockport ripped off four championships and Homewood-Flossmoor and Lincoln-Way East each added an individual titleholder.
For the Porters, Brian Rossi (44-1) beat Oswego’s Andrew McFall at 113, Shane Oster (39-6) dominated at 126, Vince Dietz (44-6) prevailed at 160 and Tyler Johnson (48-0) continued to pummel opponents with a technical fall win over Plainfield Central’s Dominic Sterr for the 195-pound title.
“There was a lot of good competition,” Oster said. “I wrestled well and avoided facing too much danger.”
While the Stanford-bound Rossi and undefeated Johnson garner most of the headlines for the Porters, Oster said he and Dietz are “trying to make a name for themselves.”
One champion who needs no introduction is Lincoln-Way East’s Nick Allegretti (41-1). The Illinois football recruit downed Moline’s Adarios Jones (36-3) 3-1 in overtime after landing a high-cross snatch for a takedown.
“My days are numbered in this sport,” Allegretti said, “so I have to go out there and wrestle my hardest.”
Allegretti noted it was another match to give him confidence heading into state, as he and Jones are two of the top contenders hoping to dethrone Hinsdale Central’s defending state champ Brian Allen. Allegretti split the season series with Allen (42-1).
One of the biggest surprises of the postseason is Homewood-Flossmoor’s Mike Burke. The 120-pound senior managed to beat Plainfield East’s formidable Zach Krause (36-3) for the sectional title. Recovering from a torn ACL, Burke didn’t compete in a single match before winning the Bradley Regional last Saturday. He is now 7-0 and headed for his third trip to state.
Lockport led the sectional with six state qualifiers. Lincoln-Way Central was next in line with five.