BARRINGTON – Huntley set the bar high a year ago with seven state qualifiers.
“I didn’t know if we could ever match our record from last year,” Huntley coach B.J. Bertelsman said. “But we outdid ourselves.”
Huntley qualified eight wrestlers for state at the IHSA Class 3A Barrington Sectional on Saturday. The Red Raiders had a nice, even mix: two freshmen, two sophomores, two juniors and two seniors.
Huntley’s eight joined five others from the McHenry County area for a total of 13 state qualifiers in Class 3A, all coming out of the Barrington Sectional. The IHSA state tournament begins Thursday at State Farm Center in Champaign and culminates with the championship matches Saturday night.
“Today has been my favorite moment personally, throughout the whole season,” Huntley 170-pound junior David Ferrante said. “Getting that many guys down, seeing all their hard work come to fruition, that was honestly amazing.”
Of Huntley’s four wrestlers to reach sectional championship matches, Ferrante was the only one who won his title match. He did so convincingly, with a 15-0 technical fall victory over Zion-Benton’s Jordan Chisum.
“David, lights out,” Bertelsman said.
Enough said. Ferrante improved to 41-2 on the season.
Sam Spencer (126), Andrew Lira (132) and Gannon Kosowski (152) all finished in second at their respective weight classes. Other Huntley state qualifiers were Jake Jensen (106), Jeremy Jakowitsch (138), Joaquin Miranda (145) and Aj Henkle (195).
McHenry freshman Brody Hallin (138) also reached a sectional championship match, losing to Libertyville’s Michael Gunther, 6-3, in the final.
“At the beginning of the season, I was not thinking I was ever going to be this far,” Hallin said. “I kept on working, started beating kids I thought I would never beat.”
The freshman, who is 36-9, was McHenry’s only state qualifier.
“He just works hard every day in the room,” McHenry coach Jake Guardalabene said. “He never takes a day off. I don’t think he’s missed a practice all year.”
Cary-Grove also had one state qualifier: junior Charlie Gruen (132). Jacobs had three state qualifiers: Justin Peters (120), Jake Harrier (132) and John Ridle (145).
Harrier (40-2), a returning state medalist, lost just his second match of the season in the semifinals, 7-2, against eventual sectional champion Danny Pucino of Libertyville. Harrier had no problem qualifying through the consolation, winning both matches by major decision.
Peters qualified with a pin in the blood round, after losing the state-qualifying match each of the previous two seasons.
“It was kind of just joy and excitement,” Peters said afterward. “You’ve got to focus on what’s ahead of you and not focus on the past.”
Local state qualifiers at IHSA Class 3A Barrington Sectional
Cary-Grove: Charlie Gruen, jr. (132, fourth).
Huntley: Jake Jensen, fr (106, third), Sam Spencer, jr. (126, second), Andrew Lira, so. (132, second), Jeremy Jakowitsch, so. (138, fourth), Joaquin Miranda, fr. (145, fourth), Gannon Kosowski, sr. (152, second), David Ferrante, jr. (170, first), Aj Henkle, sr. (195, fourth)
Jacobs: Justin Peters, sr. (120, fourth); Jake Harrier, jr. (132, third), John Ridle, sr. (145, third).
McHenry: Brody Hallin, fr. (138, second).