FRANKLIN PARK – Two years ago, Glenbard East had never qualified more than two wrestlers to state in the same year.
In the past two seasons, the Rams have qualified a whopping 12 entries to state. Last year’s seven was nearly matched by this year’s five after the Rams competed at the Leyden sectional last weekend.
All five qualifiers, Carlos Fuentez (106 pounds), Anfarnee Rodgers (120), Dayton Olson (126), Josh Martin (145) and D’Andre Johnson (285), are state returners that were part of the group that made it to Champaign a year ago. None of them placed and the group went 5-11 at state last year. They are hoping to make a bigger impression this time.
“Get on that podium, come home with a medal,” Martin said.
The ambition to place at state, or more, is unanimous among the East wrestlers.
“I definitely expect to place and even get in the finals,” Fuentez said. “That’s definitely my goal.”
Fuentez was second in the sectional after losing to Oak Park-River Forest’s Jason Renteria for the second week in a row. Fuentez is ranked third in Class 3A by IllinoisMatmen.com.
The senior said he is in better shape heading to the state tournament this year.
“I weighed 103 at weigh-ins at state last year,” Fuentez said. “I was really undersized last year. Now I’m cutting. I weighed 108 on the dot when I was weighing in at sectionals. I’m definitely a lot bigger and I grew skill wise this summer.”
Martin, like Fuentez, lost his sectional championship match, but is happy with how he entered Thursday’s first round at state.
“It’s definitely where I wanted to be,” Martin said. “Top two [in the sectional], getting a better place going into the state series instead of going in at fourth when you’re going to end up matching up with a guy who took first place [at a sectional]. It was definitely in my mind to place as high as I could.”
The Rams did have a sectional champ in Johnson. He represents another great chance for a medal. He pinned Addison Trail’s Bobby Carson in the final.
Last year, Johnson faced eventual state champion Brian Allen in the first round and lost to third-place finisher Adarios Jones of Moline in the wrestlebacks. By winning the sectional, Johnson lowered the chances of getting stuck with a tough draw again.
The shock of the day came when Jake Drew failed to qualify for state. Drew, a junior 132-pounder, had qualified for state his first two years of high school. He was on track to potentially become East’s first four-time state qualifier, but lost his semifinal match in overtime and then lost again in the wrestlebacks.
Other than that, there were no surprises for East. The five other returners did what they expected: get back to state.
“Last year I was more surprised,” Olson said. “This year I came into it knowing I was going to qualify. I just knew it.”
Glenbard East wrestlers at state
Name, year, weight class, record
• Carlos Fuentez, sr., 106 pounds, 40-5
• D'Andre Johnson, jr., 285, 43-2
• Josh Martin, sr., 145, 32-4
• Dayton Olson, sr., 126, 40-4
• Anfarnee Rodgers, sr., 120, 35-10