Wrestling: Lincoln-Way West on right track in sectional
By Logan Malloy For Sun-Times Media February 9, 2013 11:14PM
Lemont's Mike DeVitt (top) pins Tony Gallegos, of Bremen, in a 220-pound match. | John Smierciak~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 11, 2013 6:36AM
Like a runaway freight train, there was no slowing Lincoln-Way West at the Class 2A Rich East Sectional on Saturday.
The Warriors notched tournament highs with eight finalists and five champions and will send 10 wrestlers to the state finals that begin Thursday in Champaign.
“Everyone on our team knew where they were supposed to go,” West’s 132-pound champion Kyle Rodriguez said. “We stayed late and really had a tough week of practice. All of our matches against tough 3A competition paid off.”
Rodriguez had the only pin in the 14 championship matches, dropping Marian Catholic’s Frank Voltattorni in the first period.
“I’m just trying to think of it as a normal tournament,” Rodriguez said. “It really hasn’t hit me yet that I made it (to state).”
Kyle Ruettiger (113), Noah Keefe (120), Josh Ruettiger (152) and Cody Pedigo (160) were the other champions for West.
Also qualifying for the Warriors were runner-ups Lavonte Blackful (138), Jake Bohne (170) and Javier Montalvo (182).
Montalvo ran into Lemont’s Chris Giatras, the top-ranked wrestler at 182 pounds in Class 2A, in a rugged finals match. Giatras (40-1) triumphed 3-2 after a scoreless first period.
“(Montalvo) really came ready to go,” Giatras said. “I wrestled him earlier this season and I pinned him in the second round. He was fired up today, a much tougher match.”
A state-placer last season, Giatras is looking to parlay his regional and sectional titles into a state championship. With the title Saturday, he’ll likely be the top seed in his weight class.
“It’s a big relief. The anxiety has turned to excitement because now I’m going to the big show,” Giatras said. “I can’t wait to wrestle on those orange and blue mats.”
Joliet Catholic qualified a pair of juniors. Anthony McInerney (106) downed Lincoln-Way West’s Larry Cozzo for third place, while Braden Lancaster finished fourth at 145 pounds.
“For Braden to come in here unseeded and qualify for state, that’s saying something,” Joliet Catholic coach Cory McLaughlin said. “Now that they’ve qualified, I’m just hopeful our guys can do something down there, but it will be good experience for both of them for next season.”
Lincoln-Way West’s Alec Posewick finished fourth to also qualify for the state finals.