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At 12-1 in dual meets and 2-1 in Fox Valley Valley Division competition, Huntley is having a fine season for coach B.J. Bertelsman.
The Red Raiders will need to be at their best when they host this year’s 10-team Class 3A regional, where three top-25 teams per Illinois Matmen will be present, along with a pair of teams with honorable mention status, including Huntley.
“It will be brutal,” Bertelsman said. “Hononegah (No. 6), Harlem (No. 10), and DeKalb (No. 4) are all in our regional, and Crystal Lake South is a quality team as well. Hopefully we’ll wrestle at our best and we’ll see what happens.”
The Red Raiders swept the competition at a quad on Dec. 27, topping Belvidere, Rockford East and Proviso West.
Against Proviso West, Huntley’s Brandon Mabry went up against the third-ranked 195-pounder in Illinois per Illinois Best Weekly in Jameer Thurman. Mabry (16-2) lost but stayed right there with Thurman for most of the match.
“Brandon is staying in control and a lot of kids don’t like wrestling his style,” Bertelsman said. “He likes throwing underhooks and going after kids. He pushes the issue where a lot of kids at that weight like to wait around for something to happen.”
Brandon Meyer (16-3 at 126) hasn’t lost in dual meet competition yet this year, Chris Gamboa is 16-5 at 132 pounds, Zach Stenger is 16-2 at 113, and Ricky Vigil is now 16-5 at 120 pounds for Huntley.
“Ricky is only a sophomore and if he can put everything together, he can get far,” Bertelsman said. “He’s a good scrambler, a good defender, and he’s good on top. Young wrestlers just need to learn to attack for six minutes.”
Genoa-Kingston coach Earl Jursich also has a potential-rich sophomore in Joe Murray (145), with whom Jursich got on the mat with at practice recently.
“He’s probably the strongest kid I’ve come up against in a long, long time,” Jursich said. “I’m 6-foot-2 and 250 pounds and he was a handful. I expect him to be somebody to watch in the future.”
The Cogs are forfeiting four or five weight classes in each dual this season, so Jursich has his eyes set mainly on the individual state tournament in February.
Junior team captain Brett Dehmlow is battling between 106 and 113 pounds, while sophomore Christian Ordlock has wrestled at 113 and 120 this year.
“Ordlock has a good work ethic, he’s a strong technician, and he just needs some strength. When he matures a little bit more, he’s going to be strong for us,” Jursich said. “And Brett is a real sharp wrestler. He just keeps coming at you.”
Another Cog with a high ceiling is junior Dan Peters (135). “When he’s hot, there’s nobody on the mat better than he is,” Jursich said. “We’re aiming for him to get through the sectional this year.
“We’ve got a real challenge in winning duals because we’re forfeiting too many weights but I’ve got four or five kids that are giving me everything they’ve got on the mat.”
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