Two sectional champs lead four Wheaton North wrestlers to state meet
Kegan Calkins followed in his uncle's footsteps by qualifying for this weekend's IHSA state wrestling meet.
He will just do it a year sooner.
Competing at Saturday's Class 3A Maine East sectional, the junior placed first in the 113-pound weight class after coming from behind to defeat Gabriel Townsell of Oak Park-River Forest 9-6 in the championship match.
Trailing 6-4 with 40 seconds remaining in the third period, Calkins (44-5) registered a takedown followed by a near-fall.
"My uncle (Brad Faris), who also went to Wheaton North, took fourth in the state in the '80s," Calkins said. "He only went down his senior year so I am the first one in my family to be going down junior year."
Once down in Champaign, he will be looking to leave his mark.
"I'm going down there to win it," the junior said. "I don't know who else will be there, I really don't look at my bracket. I'm going down expecting to win it and am not really thinking about anything else."
Joining Calkins atop the award stand on Saturday was senior Kellen Cleveland, who defeated Andre Lee of Oak Park to take first at 195. Cleveland improved to 37-3 on the winter.
Fellow senior Sean Murray punched his ticket to state with a runner-up finish at 138.
"I did pretty well," Murray said. "I feel like I've been getting better throughout the year and I'm hitting my peak at the end of the season."
Murray will be making his second consecutive appearance at Assembly Hall. A year ago, he lost both his matches.
"I am pretty excited," he said. "I loved the experience, it was so much fun last year, just being down there and taking it all in. Hopefully I will do a little better, win some matches and get up on the podium."
Rounding out the quartet of wrestlers that Wheaton North will send down is senior Kaelen Bradford, who finished third at 182. Bradford, whose first action of the season was at the conference meet after recovering from a broken hand and knee injury, picked up a 5-4 overtime decision over Matt Chlebek to reach the third-place match where he notched a first-round pin.
"They are all great guys," Murray added about his teammates that will accompany him to Champaign. "We've been together through thick and thin. We've been together for the last three years and some for four. It's a fun team, a great group of guys."
John Carlos qualified for the Class 3A state meet after placing third at the Maine East sectional Saturday in the 285-pound weight class.
The senior, who beat D'Andre Johnson of Glenbard East 5-1 in the third-place match, improved to 17-6 on the season.
Carlos actually began the event with a 5-3 overtime loss to Johnson before rattling off three consecutive victories to reach the third-place match.
Junior Tyler Svestka fell just short of advancing at 126, winning his first two matches before losing 8-1 to Isaiah White of Oak Park. Needing a win to move into the third-place match and thus qualify for state, he fell 6-4 in overtime to Jake Drew of Glenbard East.
Wheaton Warrenville South
Ramond King represented the Tigers at the Class 3A Shepard sectional last weekend, competing in the 138-pound weight bracket.
King picked up a pin in his opening-round match before losing 11-3 to eventual runner-up John Peliegrino of Sandburg. He then picked up a 7-1 win in the wrestlebacks before bowing out with a 4-2 loss to Robert Modiest of Proviso West.
Senior Alex Alcantara competed at the Rochelle Class 2A sectional this past weekend but lost both of his matches.
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