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Sectional finishes don’t mar Mustangs’ season

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014 2:40 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Feb. 28, 2014 4:19 p.m. CDT
Caption
(John Cox for Shaw Media)
Morton's Donny DiNardo took second at 120 pounds at the Lyons Township regional on Feb. 8, but could not clinch a spot in the state tournament at the Hinsdale Central sectional. The Mustangs didn't send anyone to state but still had a successful season.

HINSDALE – Morton wrestling was unable to advance a wrestler to the state tournament at the Hinsdale Central sectional, but the Mustangs still did their coach proud this season.

Kevion Anderson, Adrian Cardenas, Jesus Ceja and Donny DiNardo competed at the Hinsdale Central sectional and saw their seasons finish. Anderson, Cardenas and Ceja are all seniors that ended their Morton wrestling careers.

“I don’t know if we got replacements for those three guys, but we’ll see,” Morton coach Steve Eckert said. “We don’t have anyone as strong as Kevion, I know that, and Adrian has been a fixture in the lineup.”

Those three seniors all exit after winning 30 or more matches this season. DiNardo, Joewan Smith, Chris Trujillo, Javier Orozco, Cesar Garcia and Noel Ibarra each crossed the 20-win mark as well.

Morton was 17-3 in dual meets during the regular season and had some good tournament showings as well.

“I’m pretty excited about getting the 10 back for next year,” Eckert said. “We won the Guerin tournament. It’s not a big tournament, but it’s nice the kids won that. We took second at Pontiac, which is a better tournament. We had three 30-win wrestlers. We had six [more] 20-win wrestlers. That’s pretty impressive.”

Anderson was one match away from advancing to state at 220 pounds. He made it to the semifinals of the main draw before losing twice.

“Thirty wins for a second-year wrestler is pretty good,” Eckert said. “We probably got the best out of him.”

Cardenas had high hopes after coming one win away from getting to state last year, but ran into a difficult field at 170 pounds.

“As good as he is, I don’t think he was good enough at that weight at that sectional,” Eckert said. “There were just some really good wrestlers at the sectional.

“I tell the kids all the time wrestle to win, don’t wrestle not to lose. I think Adrian knew this was it, he was a senior and I don’t think he wanted to take a chance. He wrestled conservative and that’s not his style.”

Despite not being able to have his seniors end their careers at state, Eckert was pleased with the season and the outlook for the future.

“We had 10 new kids in our lineup this year,” the coach said. “Most of those kids were JV wrestlers and sophomores [last year]. To say that we were going to win 17 matches, to be 17-3 with 10 new starters in the lineup, I am very happy.”

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