Rams send record 7 to state
Glenbard East wrestling breaks another school record
There were lots of smiling faces in the Glenbard East camp after Saturday's Maine East wrestling sectional.
That's no surprise considering a school-record seven Rams advanced to the state tournament. The previous record was three back in 1994. The school record followed a line of school records East has overtaken this season.
Last week, nine Rams advanced to sectionals, a school record. Two weeks ago, East finished second at the DuPage Valley Conference meet, a school best finish. The Rams' dual record was 21-5, yep, another record.
"Once that ball started running and rolling they just kept winning and winning," said East coach Kevin Carlson. "They've been working hard. This is a great group. We won a regional before, but this by far has to be the best team that we've ever had... Week after week they just kept stepping up to the call."
Sophomore Jake Drew (126 pounds) was the only returning state qualifier after having made it at 106 pounds. That means the Rams will be sending six wide-eyed state newcomers to Champaign.
Senior Shane Vincent, the only senior among the Rams' state qualifiers, was the runner-up in the sectional at 220 pounds. His journey to be where he is now has made qualifying that much more special.
"Coming from being on JV last year to state qualifier is just a tremendous feeling," Vincent said. "I honestly couldn't wrap my head around it. It was too hard to process. It's still a little hard to get the fact that I'm going down to state. It's one thing I've always dreamed of."
Junior Carlos Fuentez (106) joined Vincent as a runner-up. Each of the other five Rams that qualified made it by winning the do-or-die wrestleback semifinal match. East went 5-1 in those matches.
Josh Martin (138) beat St. Charles East's Jake Mende 4-2 in the crucial match to book his place in Champaign.
"That was the most pressure I've ever had on me in a match," Martin said. "You've got to block out all the emotion in the match and just go out and wrestle your absolute best."
Martin, Drew, Anfarnee Rodgers (113), Dayton Olson (120) and heavyweight D'Andre Johnson were able to block out that pressure.
Martin has gone to state as a spectator in recent years, but is aware that simply being familiar with the atmosphere is different from wrestling in it.
"I know what it's like," Martin said. "I haven't been out on that floor though so it will be different this year."
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