JOLIET – Whenever a wrestling team can advance six individuals to the semifinals of one of the most-competitive sectionals in the state, they'll gladly accept that performance.
But when that happens and they only drop one of their quarterfinal matches, it's easy to see why Lincoln-Way West coach Brian Glynn was feeling very confident with his squad on Friday at the Class 3A Joliet Central Sectional as they put themselves in a great position to send a large contingent to next weekend's IHSA finals in Champaign.
The Warriors led all teams in the tournament with six semifinalists while Yorkville had five and Lockport, Plainfield South, Providence Catholic, Edwardsville and Neuqua Valley all advanced four to the semifinals, which is scheduled for around 11 a.m. on Saturday. The title and third-place matches are expected to begin around 2:30 p.m.
Claiming quarterfinal wins for West were Johnny Buell (113), Javen Estrada (126), Garrett Geigner (138), Payton Geigner (145), Josh Pakula (170) and Jacob Cronk (182).
That round started in good fashion for the Warriors as Buell opened with a 7-0 victory and Estrada followed with a fall against Plainfield North's Dylan Amico. Garrett Geigner hung on for a 5-4 win and Payton Geigner pulled away late to win 9-4 over Joliet West's Terrance Snapp. After Brock Pfeiffer fell 4-1 to Belleville West's Logan Johnson, Josh Pakula prevailed 10-9 and Cronk added a 3-1 victory.
"John had some ups and downs but he's a senior and the last couple of week, he's a competely-changed attitude and it shows," Glynn said. "Javen meets the kid who beat him last year and manhandles him. The two Geigners won in typical fashion and I expected Josh and Jacob to win, too, and they both did."
Plainfield South and Providence both won four of their five quarterfinal matches while Lockport settled for a 4-4 split in its matches during that round.
Cougars who advanced to the semifinals were Enzo Silva (120), James Pierandozzi (145), Jake Kendall (160) and Andrew Bejarano (285).
Silva opened with a 9-3 victory and Pierandozzi won by fall in 1:47. Kendall added a pin in 1:14 while Bejarano wrapped up that round with a 6-4 overtime victory over Minooka's Drew Gutknecht in a showdown of two of the state's best. The only Cougar to lose in that round was John Pacewic, who fell 3-1 to Lincoln-Way Central's Mason Sargent at 195.
"With Enzo, Jimmy, Jake and Andrew all in the semifinals, that speaks to them," Cougars coach Jason Acevedo said. "But we have to be ready for tomorrow since getting to the semis isn't good enough since you still have to win one. to get down. They have bigger goals to place at state and not just getting there."
The Celtics received quarterfinal wins from Jake Lindsey (113), Josh Ramos (138), Kevin Countryman (145) and Ryan Boersma (220) while Nick Matthias (120) fell to Edwardsville's Noah Surtin, who is top-ranked at that weight.
Lindsey captured a win by technical fall, Ramos added a 12-0 victory, Countryman hung on for a 3-2 triumph over Plainfield Central's Jamel Sheppard and Boersma got a fall in 1:06.
"I thought we did well," Celtics coach Donny Reynolds said. "The guys who won were attacking and wrestling from positions that they need to wrestle in in order to score and win matches. And the guys who lost need to figure some things but they still have an opportunity to come back and finish strong and try to qualify."
The Porters won three of their first four quarterfinal matches but suffered some tough losses and only were only able to advance one more individual to the semifinals. Lockport received quarterfinal wins from Kaleb Thompson (106), Matt Ramos (120), Anthony Molton (126) and Baylor Fernandes (160).
Thompson started things with a win by technical fall before Keegan Roberson got pinned in 1:25 at 113. Ramos won by technical fall before Molton recorded a fall in 51 seconds.
Mikey Kaminski dropped a tough 7-6 decision at 132 in a tiebreaker to Minooka's Michael Ruettiger on a last-second call by the official. Fernandes followed with a fall in 0:52 before Andrew Blackburn-Forst got pinned in 3:55 at 195 and Brendon Shin fell 3-1 at 285.
"We have four in the semis and wrestled okay," Porters coach Josh Oster said. "It was not our best day since we easily could have had seven or eight in the semis, but we didn't. So it is what it is since sectionals never go perfect. Because of our schedule, our kids are used to adversity, so some will have to win three in a row and others have to win one more."
Lincoln-Way East, Minooka, Plainfield East and Plainfield North all advanced two individuals to the semifinals while Joliet Central and Lincoln-Way Central both had a quarterfinals victor.
For the Griffins, Dominic Adamo won 5-3 in overtime at 152 and Nick Mihajlovich claimed a win by injury default at 182.
The Bengals received quarterfinal wins from Alex Villar (120) and D'Anthony Hopkins (138). Villar won a 7-4 decision while Hopkins captured a 6-5 win on a tiebreaker against Andrew's Luke Gardner. Luqman Masud (113) and Ryan Graff (126) both fell in that round.
Plainfield North got quarterfinal wins from Jacob Macatangay (106) and Jared Gumila (132). Macatangay collected a 10-4 victory while Gumila won by fall in 1:37. Dylan Amico (126) got pinned in 3:09 and Evan Smith (152) suffered a 13-6 defeat.
Minooka had a tough time in the quarterfinals, winning two of eight matches. Advancing to the semifinals were Michael Ruettiger (132), who edged Kaminski 7-6 on a tiebreaker, and Jake Shipla (220), who recorded a fall in 1:57 over Lincoln-Way Central's Mike McCormack.
In other quarterfinal matches for the Indians, Jack McClimon (126) dropped a 7-2 decision, Jake Mensik (138) lost 12-0, Noah Boles (160) was pinned in 1:36, Alec Dufour (170) lost 13-3, Connor Colbert (195) was pinned in 5:46 and Drew Gutknecht (285) was edged 6-4 in overtime by Bejarano in an exciting concluding match to Friday's action.
Joliet West lost four quarterfinal matches. After Terrance Snapp fell 9-4 to Payton Geigner at 145, Jeremy Pullen dropped a 9-1 decision to Yorkville's Joe Roberts at 152. Steven Fallon (182) fell 10-3 and Jake Aharrah (195) lost 6-3 to Yorkville's Ben Stemmet. Plainfield Central's Matt Arsenault (170) also competed in the quarterfinals but was pinned in 0:55.