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Lincoln-Way Central’s Matt Schneider (left) took second place in the 160 pound championship match against Sandburg’s C.J. Brucki at Joliet Central, Saturday January, 19, 2013. | Ray Luna ~ For Sun-Times Media
It might be the most formidable conference in all of Illinois, but the SouthWest Suburban Tournament still belongs to reigning state champion Sandburg.
The Eagles summoned eight wrestlers to the finals Saturday in Joliet and captured five titles behind Alante Walker (145 pounds), C.J. Brucki (160), Colin Holler (170), Ricky Robertson (182) and Bill Gore (220).
Holler, a three-time state medalist, bookends his career with SWSC tournament titles. He won the 119-pound title as a freshman but finished second his sophomore and junior year.
“The last two years I wrestled some tough guys in the finals,” Holler said. “I figured I might as well go all out my last year and wrestle like I have nothing to lose; I couldn’t let it get by me.”
Sandburg took home the unofficial team title with 269 points. Lincoln-Way Central finished as runner-up with 230 and received a second SWSC championship from senior Robbie Mikenis (138). Lockport placed third in the 16-team field at 173.
“Something felt different about this week” Mikenis said. “I felt like this was the best I’ve wrestled all year. We had great team practices all week.”
In one of the most star-studded matches of the event, Thornton’s reigning state champ Kris Williams downed Lockport state medalist Brian Rossi for the 113-pound title. Williams, a sophomore, displayed uncanny quickness on his first takedown and went on to win his second SWSC title by a 9-5 decision.
“Rossi’s definitely the toughest guy I’ve faced all season,” Williams said. “He came out aggressive. I’m used to being the aggressor so I had to put him back on his heels.”
Lincoln-Way East and Joliet Central notched two individual champs apiece, and East’s Kyle Langenderfer (152) and Central’s Trayvon Zabala (120) became three-time titleholders in the process. Nick Allegretti won at 285 for the Griffins and Sharod Wilson repeated as the 182-pound titleholder for Joliet Central.
Homewood-Flossmoor’s Mike Burke (106), Bradley’s Jacob Igartua (126) and Lincoln-Way West’s Kyle Rodriguez (132) rounded out the podium toppers.