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Only six wrestlers walked away from Saturday’s Hoffman Estates Invitational with their unbeaten records intact, and Elgin had two of them in Jeff Morrow and Zach McCullough.
Both won individual titles and improved to 12-0 on the young season. Morrow was dominant in a 10-0 title-mat decision at 106 over Notre Dame’s Chris Sommers, a match in which the junior’s physicality stood out.
“I got in the weight room, I wrestled freestyle and Greco this summer, and (McCullough) and I were working hard this summer,” Morrow said. “We put in the work and it’s showing in our matches. Coach (Tom) Stewart is pushing us hard and that’s always a good thing.”
McCullough showed guts in winning a 7-5 title decision at 113 over top-seeded Jimmy Gallardo of Notre Dame. The junior injured his knee late in the match and had to be helped to his feet, but chose to continue wrestling virtually on one leg.
McCullough earned a takedown in a scramble at the edge of the mat to secure the win.
“After the minute of injury time I wanted to see if I could come back and finish the match,” McCullough said. “I wanted to win more than I wanted to leave.”
Streamwood senior Alex Curtis entered the Hoffman Estates tournament unseeded at 126 pounds, but beat wrestlers seeded first, second and fourth en route to winning an individual title.
Curtis (8-2) came from behind to win a 5-4 semifinal decision over No. 1 Alec Mckenna, before winning 11-3 on the title mat against No. 2 Noah Strong of Libertyville.
“I was ready for the finals after my semifinal match,” Curtis said. “I was down in that match but I just kept fighting, so I knew I had to keep on fighting and it would pay off. Now I just need to work on my pinning combinations a little more. I had them last year but this year I’ve lost that a little, and I need to get it back.”
Streamwood coach Bill Peach was pleased with Curtis’ performance.
“He’s already a three-time sectional qualifier and he’s looking to take that next step and get downstate,” Peach said. “He did a good job today. He had a tough kid in the semi’s and he battled back to beat him.”
Elgin finished seventh in the team standings, Streamwood finished eighth and South Elgin placed 10th on Saturday.
Elgin’s Ritchie Santana (11-1) placed second at 195 pounds, teammate Isaac Schennum (9-4) was fifth at 182, and South Elgin’s Nick Kowalski (11-3) won his final match of the day on the fifth-place mat at 285 pounds.