52 | February 16, 2017 | The frankfort station Sports frankfortstation.com Wrestling Diehl heads to second-straight bout at state Randy Whalen Freelance Reporter This is the time of the season that the Lockport Township wrestling team had been aiming for. Through an undefeated (25-0) dual meet season and back-to-back trips to a pair of the best tournaments in the nation, the Porters moved up to be the top-ranked team in the state and No. 24 nationally. But through it all, they had a goal to be at their best in the postseason. They lived up to those expectations Saturday, Feb. 11, at the Class 3A Normal Community Sectional. There, the Porters established program records with 12 state qualifiers and five sectional champions. The Lockport dozen, along with other area qualifiers, will compete at the individual state tournament finals, this Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 16-18, at the State Farm Center in Champaign. "We wrestle a really good schedule and we're ready to compete when it's time to compete," Lockport coach Josh Oster said. "Twice before, we had seven people get to state and once before had four [sectional] champions. We know we're not going to win every one, but if you compete well then good things will happen." Qualifying 13 people out of their own regional on Feb. 4, the Porters had 12 of them place in the sectional. They will be represented at state in every weight class except 195 and 220. Brendan Ramsey was not one of the Lockport sectional champions. But despite having 15 losses (22- 15), he epitomized the Porter spirit by finishing third at 126 with a 3-1 win over fellow senior Jevon Pargo from Collinsville. "It's a great day and I'm proud of all my teammates," Ramsey said. "When your teammates are winning and you see it, it pumps you up, too." Capturing titles for Lockport were seniors Abdullah Assaf (132), Brandon Ramos (138) and Trevell Timmons (160), along with sophomores Baylor Fernandes (145) and Ronald Tucker Jr. (285). Garnering second for the Porters were sophomore Matt Ramos (106), freshman James Pierandozzi (120), junior Zach Reese (152) and senior Nicholas Dado (170). Placing third were sophomore Anthony Molton (113), Ramsey (126) and senior Payton Fernandes (182). "Team-wise, with all of the qualifiers, that was just amazing,” Timmons said. “Everybody’s pushing along, and I feel like every week we’re getting tougher and tougher. A lot of guys knew that if you move on from this, you go to state, so there was a lot of pressure on some guys." Timmons, who defeated senior Michial Foy (18-1) of Crete- Monee 4-2 to improve to 36-4 and win his second straight sectional title, has his eyes set on the prize this weekend. "I definitely want to do it and don't want to get injured again," said Timmons, who finished fifth in 2015 and sixth last year after being injured, both at 152 pounds. "I feel I've worked way too hard not to take [the state title] this year." So does Assaf, who was third at 113 two years ago and fifth at 120 last season. He improved to 24-2 with an 8-3 victory over junior Carlos Champagne from Marian Catholic in the title bout. But it didn't come without a worrisome moment to start as Assaf had to take an injury timeout. "My knee popped, and I kind of freaked out a bit, but it was nothing," he said. "I've been waiting for this week. I think we can bring home 12 placers at state. We feel confident. We're hungry and we looked really good." Brandon Ramos (37-5), who won his first sectional title after finishing third the past three years, agreed. "This is exactly what I wanted," said Brandon Ramos, who defeated fellow senior Luke Smiley from Plainfield North 8-1 to win the sectional title. "But I can't be satisfied with just moving on. All of us will be pushing each other to get a medal or better." Baylor Fernandes (36-8), who defeated fellow sophomore Juan Bazaldua from Providence 5-2 in a local matchup, had to push through to even compete. But there was no way he was going to miss out. "I hadn’t practiced once this week because I had the flu, so I just gave it all that I had and ended up on top,” Baylor Fernandes said. "I’ve never been this tired before. Our whole team did really good with guys beating people who are better ranked than them, which just shows how hard they’ve been working all year." The heavyweight bout also featured an all-local matchup. There, Tucker improved to 26-2 in toppling Lincoln-Way East senior Sammy Diehl (35-3) 5-0 in the first meeting of the season between two of the top heavyweights in the state. "It felt good to wrestle him and get the win that I deserve," Tucker said of defeating Diehl. "We didn't have any letdown and wrestled great. To have a guy like Brandon Ramsey [ with a lot of losses] make it to the podium is kind of heartwarming." Despite his loss to Tucker, Diehl — who was the SouthWest Suburban Blue heavyweight champion and is making his second-straight trip to state — hopes to be on the podium this weekend. "He did very well, especially on shot defense," Diehl said of Tucker. "But I definitely still want to be on the podium [at state]." Cole Smith from Providence was on top of the podium at 152 pounds in the sectional. He didn't even have to wrestle a title match as fellow junior Zach Reese had to injury default after reaggravating a shoulder injury that kept him out of action for the month leading up to the regionals, in the semifinals. Reese is expected back for Lockport at state this weekend. Lincoln-Way East wrestler Sam Diehl, shown here earlier this season wresting Lincoln-Way Central's Lucas Korte, qualified for the individual state tournament. 22nd century media file photo But Smith (40-4) was very happy for the win, as it keeps him in the opposite bracket as three-time defending state champion Austin O'Connor from St. Rita. "I was really looking forward to winning this, since I knew that if I did, I’d be on the opposite side of O’Connor, and could see him in the finals," said Smith, who has lost to O'Connor three times this season. "I feel pretty good, but I’m still not where I’d like to be." In total, Providence advanced five guys to state, tying O’Fallon for second most behind the Porters. Also placing in the sectional for the Celtics was sophomore Juan Bazaldua — second at 145 — while sophomore Jacob Lindsey (106), junior Dominick Ambrose (138) and freshman Trevor Swier (170) took third. "I had a pretty good draw, I got it down and made it through," Ambrose said of advancing to state. "This is my second year in a row and I also had older brothers make it down. One of my goals now is to place. I'm capable of it." Lincoln-Way West has a sectional champion in senior Jake Dudeck. He defeated fellow senior Alex Andrews from Rock Island 5-2 to improve to 32-5 and win the title at 220 pounds. That was special for Dudeck, who placed second in the sectional the past two seasons. "This was one of my senior year goals since I had never won this tournament," Dudeck said. "I worked twice as hard in the past year. I wanted to win this tournament, so now my goal is to make the semis at state, since I wasn’t there last year. I’ll be happy for a little bit but then it will be about what I need to do to get to that semifinal match." The Warriors also received fourth-place finishes from state qualifiers freshman Payton Geigner (113) and junior Kyle Quinn (170). "All my teammates were telling me that I could do it," said Quinn, who rebounded from a dislocated right elbow injury that kept him out for four weeks in January to make it to state. "After I came back from my injury I gained confidence and was able to fight through." Lincoln-Way Central qualified senior Jason Stokes (34-11), who placed fourth at 132 pounds. He also went to state as a sophomore at Lincoln-Way East, but missed out on a trip last season before moving to Central when the district was redone at the start of this school year. "I'm glad to make it and going back to state was my motivation," Stokes said. "Going into the season I had to pick myself up and make it happen again."
frankfortstation.com Sports the frankfort station | February 16, 2017 | 53 Girls bowling Young Griffins step up, miss state qualifier East's Juskie nearly misses state bid Frank Gogola Freelance Reporter For the first time this postseason, things weren’t coming easy for Lockport. The state’s No. 1 ranked team according to Illinois- Bowling.net had been in second place the majority of the day at the Andrew Sectional on Feb. 11 at Orland Bowl. As other teams started to fade late in the day, strong play from junior Bailey Delrose and a lineup change helped the Porters win the sectional title and earn their fifth consecutive trip to state. “It’s been a fantastic run, especially these last three years,” Lockport coach Art Cwudzinski said. “You don’t see girls with this ability this often, and all on the same team. It’s been a pleasure to watch them work and mature. They’ve accepted both the good and bad breaks.” Lockport was the only area school to advance to state as a team. Andrew’s Noelle Doody and Danielle Stefanski qualified for state, as did Sandburg’s Emily Schrader. Sandburg’s Sophia Jablonski advanced to state in the wheelchair division. Lincoln-Way West, Lincoln-Way East, Lincoln- Way Central and Tinley Park didn’t qualify any individual bowlers. The lowest individual advancing score was a 1,259. The four highest-scoring teams and five top-scoring individuals who didn’t advance with a team moved on to state. The state finals are scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Cherry Bowl Lanes in Rockford. Lincoln-Way East sophomore Angela Juskie closed the afternoon session on a high note but missed qualifying for state as an individual by one spot as the team settled for an eighth-place finish. “We had a rough start,” East coach Carlie Premo said. “We just talked about having fun and they were relaxed after that. We hit one of our goals of getting 1,000 pins. We also wanted to stay above 900 each game but didn’t do that twice.” Juskie bowled a 1,241 to finish sixth among individuals without an advancing team. She was 18 pins behind Yorkville’s Hannah Jaros for the final individual spot. Her 1,241 was 189 pins better than her 1052 at regionals. She followed up a 579 in the morning session with a 662 in the afternoon. Her 221, 225 and 242 in the third, fourth and sixth games, respectively, were her three best games across the conference championship, regionals and sectionals. As a team, the Griffins finished in eighth place with a 5,528. They finished 249 pins behind fourth-place Oswego (5,777). They bowled a 2,842 in the afternoon session after going for 2,686 in the morning. Their 1035 in game four was a season high and their first game of 1,000 or more pins this season. The 5,528 was better than their 4,792 at the conference championship and 5,170 at regionals. “It’s been a reverse bell curve type of season,” Premo said. “We started strong, had a lull in the middle and kicked it up when we needed to these past few weeks. Sophomore Sydney Tyler bowled an 1,176. Senior Olivia Heppeler rolled a 1,081. Senior Mary Toman had a 1,017. Freshman Katelynn Adamitis put up a 623 in four games, while junior Cheyanne Sanchez had a 390 in two games. The Griffins will return five bowlers, losing starters Heppeler and Toman and substitute Maritza Sanchez. It was a bit of a learning season for Premo and the Griffins as Tyler was in her first year bowling, and the rest of the bowlers came over from Lincoln-Way North. The team’s score of 5,528 was 794 pins better than North’s last-place finish (4,734) at last year’s sectional. “It’ll be a decently young team, but there should be some good talent,” Premo said of next year. “We have to work on staying relaxed and having fun. When they get in their own heads, they tend to get down on themselves.” East has never advanced to state as a team. Girls basketball East looks toward nabbing 20th win after defeating Lockport Randy Whalen Freelance Reporter As far as a game goes, last week’s matchup between Lincoln-Way East and Lockport Township will not be put in a time capsule. In the last regular season game for both teams, East emerged victorious with a 38-28 win over the Porters in a SouthWest Suburban Blue matchup before a senior night crowd on Tuesday, Feb. 7, at Lockport Central. While the Griffins (18- 10, 7-3) missed too many shots and Lockport (16-12, 4-6) turned the ball over too many times, both teams took something out of the game. East reached the 18-win mark for the 10th straight season and hopes to reach 20 victories for the ninth time in that span with another regional title as the Class 4A playoffs open this week. “A win is a win,” East senior guard Sam Nair said. “We all have off nights. We have time off [until the regional] and we just have to keep practicing and work hard. We have to tighten things up.” East shot 16-of-51 (31 percent) from the field and 3-of-8 (38 percent) from the line in the game. Griffins coach Jim Martin chalked it up to one of those nights. “It was just one of those things,” Martin said of his team’s shooting. “We didn’t shoot well in our last two games [including a 56-37 loss to Marist on Feb. 4]. We’ve got to get better and put the ball in the hole.” Junior guard Carolyn Waleski (11 points), Nair (10 points) and senior forward Anna Power (9 points) led East, which jumped out to a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter and led the entire way. Ahead 8-5 after the first quarter, Waleski scored six points in the second quarter as the Griffin led 20-11 at halftime. Nair scored five points in the third quarter including a layup for a 31-17 lead with 3:20 left. The Griffins led 31- 21 after three. Lockport committed 30 of its 37 turnovers in the first three quarters. “When we pressure the ball, we’re really good at it,” Nair said. Power scored on a layup with 6:09 to play for a 38-23 lead. But East, which committed eight of its 17 turnovers in the fourth quarter, didn’t score again. Lockport — which lost to the Griffins 52-51 on Jan. 17 in the teams’ first meeting this season — had their last victory over East with a 60-51 win on Dec. 15, 2005. The Porters are guaranteed to finish with at least their most wins since going 16-11 in the 2010-2011 season. But they also wanted to advance to a regional title game for the first time in a decade this week. “I was proud of how everyone played and showed how much they care about each other,” Lockport coach Dan Kelly said. “That’s one of our core values, and it was great to see everyone sacrifice for each other. “I don’t care what the scoreboard said [last week against East]. We were winners.” Before the game the Porters, honored their seven seniors: Melissa Calvo, Kayla Janssen, Madalyn Kennedy, Laurel Kucharski, Hailey Ledbetter, Kaleigh Schmutzler and Elena Woulfe. But even after the seniors were honored, the team made a special presentation to Kucharski, who was on the varsity all four years. “Laurel sacrificed a starting position, and they wanted to thank her for everything,” said Kelly, who started an allsenior lineup. “I was proud of the energy we brought.” Kucharski, who has committed to play next season at the University of Mary in North Dakota and missed a month this season with strained ligaments in her right thumb, was surprised at the gesture. “They gave me some flowers, and I didn’t expect that,” Kucharski said. “That was really nice. We all wanted the seniors to get in, and coach [Kelly] said how we wanted everyone to play.” Five of the Porter seniors started and played most of the first quarter. Five of them ended up scoring, including Schmutzler, Janssen, Kennedy, and Ledbetter in the fourth quarter. Kucharski (8 points, 7 rebounds) led the Porters. Martin credited Kelly and Lockport. “Dan does a great job and it was a special night for their seniors,” Martin said. “[Kelly] has turned it around here.”