Wrestling: Joliet Central’s Zabala stays unbeaten
By Steve Tappa For Sun-Times Media February 9, 2013 11:24PM
Updated: February 10, 2013 12:14AM
Five unbeaten beasts emerged Saturday as state-bound champions from the Class 3A Moline Sectional.
Of those, Joliet Central’s Trayvon Zabala was the only one that roared.
“It’s important for me to be unbeaten because I’m trying to prove a point,’’ the senior said after scoring a technical fall in the title match at 120 pounds.
“The so-called experts say I’m just a Joliet kid and I can’t win a state title. I’m going to prove them wrong. When people see how I won, they should be like, ‘Wow.’ For the people who don’t think I can do it, that was for them.’’
Lincoln-Way East’s Kyle Langenderfer (152), Plainfield South’s Miguel Silva (106), Plainfield Central’s Jordan Ellingwood (195) and Neuqua Valley’s Andrew Geers (285) were the others retaining perfect records with sectional crowns.
Plainfield Central accounted for three champs, with Nick Nasenbeny (126) and Ryan Holzrichter (132) joining Ellingwood.
The other champions were Lockport’s Brian Rossi (113), Minooka freshman Carson Oughton (145), Oswego’s Max Larson (160), Lincoln-Way Central’s Bryce Gorman (170), Homewood-Flossmoor’s Donnie Bell (182) and Providence’s Vince Ambrose (220).
Lincoln-Way Central and Lockport led the area with seven state qualifiers each.
“We wrestled really great this weekend. I couldn’t be prouder of my team,’’ Gorman said. “We have half the team going to Champaign. That’s so much better than going with just the coaches and sitting there by yourself. I have all my practice partners with me from 152 to 182. Now we’re excited to see how many state place-winners we can get.’’
Langenderfer, a defending state champion, knows heading to state undefeated doesn’t assure him of a fourth straight state medal.
“It doesn’t matter I’m unbeaten. It doesn’t matter I’m a sectional champ,’’ said Langenderfer, who will wrestle next season at Assembly Hall for the University of Illinois. “Throw out the records and rankings now. I could have finished fourth here and that doesn’t mean I can’t win a state title. If you’re in it, you have a chance to win it. That’s all that matters.’’
Ellingwood, Geers and Silva agreed there’s no added pressure on the unbeatens to stay perfect.
“For me, it’s going to be fun wrestling where I’m going to be competing the next five years,’’ Langenderfer said. “I’m just going to let it all hang out and show them what they’re getting next year. I don’t have anything to lose. I already have a state title.’’
Zabala begs to differ.
“I could be going there as a two-time state champ,’’ the four-time state qualifier said. “But I slipped my sophomore year and it cost me. Last year, I was disqualified in the quarterfinals for an illegal slam. So now as a senior it’s go time for sure.’’