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Wrestlers embark on postseason paths

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 3:30 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Feb. 17, 2014 5:51 p.m. CDT
(Erica Benson - ebenson@shawmedia.com)
Riverside Brookfield's John Szydlo wrestles at 145 pounds during the Lisle invite on Jan. 18. The Bulldogs will look to defend as champions when they host their own regional on Saturday.

After weeks of watching and cutting weight and months of drilling in practice, high school wrestlers are set to embark on the road to the state finals. This weekend's regional tournaments signal the start of the individual state series, which culminates with the state tournament Feb. 20 to 22 at the State Farm Center in Champaign.

Lyons Township

Class: 3A

Regional: Lyons Township

Sectional: Hinsdale Central

Outlook: The Lions have had a resurgent season thanks to a freshmen class that has added plenty of talent to LT's lineup. However, senior A.J. Villarreal is the team's best wrestler.

Villarreal was a state qualifier at 152 pounds last year and is hoping for more success at state this time around. His younger brother, Zach, is among the favorites to advance out of the regional at 113 pounds despite being just a freshman.

Fellow freshmen Elias Garcia (106), Tyler Zeman (120) and Johnny Mologousis (145) have made a big impact early in their careers, as well. Heavyweight Johnny Howorth has had a good season, but will have to compete with top ranked Brian Allen of Hinsdale Central and another elite heavyweight in Mike Hobbs from Downers Grove South at the regional.

On the team side, LT's toughest competition appears to be Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South.


Class: 3A

Regional: Lyons Township

Sectional: Hinsdale Central

Outlook: Adrian Cardenas headlines Morton's postseason hopes. The senior is a state hopeful after just missing out at sectionals last year.

"He's about as good of a kid as I've had in a while," Morton coach Steve Eckert said. "He's a guy that if we're going to get anybody [to state], he's going to be it."

Kevion Anderson (220 pounds) is another sectional qualifier back for the Mustangs.

Freshman 113-pounder Joewan Smith and sophomore Donnie DiNardo (120 pounds) have also had good seasons, but will have to get through quality opponents to advance out of the regional.

Riverside Brookfield

Class: 2A

Regional: Riverside Brookfield

Sectional: De La Salle

Outlook: The Bulldogs won a regional as hosts last year and will have the chance to duplicate the task this season.

RB finished the regular season 12-11 in duals and have enough depth to win the regional. St. Ignatius and Nazareth, which RB defeated in a dual on Dec. 6, appear to be the toughest competition.

Individually, Nick Giurini (113 pounds) is hoping to place at state after being one match away from qualifying for state last year. Andrew Misiorowski (138), Antonio Ochoa (132), Jon Szydlo (145) and Shannon Hickey (195) are among the Bulldogs' other wrestlers with a good chance to advance from the regional.


Class: 2A

Regional: Riverside Brookfield

Sectional: De La Salle

Outlook: Decx Kelly-Martin and Dmitri Joe have been standouts on a Nazareth team that will head to Riverside Brookfield for the regional. The Roadrunners aren't likely to contend in the team standings, but should be able to advance multiple wrestlers to the sectional.

Kelly-Martin (182 pounds) won a regional last year. Brian Kavanaugh and Jack Bonaguro are sectional qualifying returners along with Kelly-Martin.

Kavanaugh and Joe led the Roadrunners at the East Suburban Catholic Conference meet on Friday. Kavanaugh was fourth at 152 pounds while Joe was fourth at 285.


Class: 2A

Regional: Elmwood Park

Sectional: Lakes

Outlook: Mike Kozyra is the Friars' top wrestler. The senior was fourth in the state at 160 pounds last year. This year he is wrestling at 170 pounds, but will still have to go through a Montini wrestler in the regional.

Last year Kozyra fell to Xavier Montalvo in a regional final and Montalvo went on to win state. Montalvo has stayed at 160 this season and the Broncos aren't as strong at 170, opening the door for Kozyra.

In addition to Kozyra, Emerson Harris (145) and Ben Uphues (152) are returning sectional qualifiers.

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