CHAMPAIGN – It’s safe to say Montini’s wrestling team had an impressive showing at the individual state tournament last weekend.
Five Broncos won state titles and six more earned medals as Montini was well represented on the medal stand.
Dylan Duncan (120 pounds), Kegan Calkins (126), Vince Turk (138), Chris Garcia (145) and Xavier Montalvo (170) added their names to a growing list of Montini state champions. Garcia and Montalvo won their second consecutive state titles and Garcia finished his career as a four-time medalist.
“This is the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life,” said Calkins, a transfer from Wheaton North. “I worked so hard for this one moment and to be the best.”
The senior, who is still undecided on where he will wrestle in college next year, made sure he wasn’t going to let any opportunities pass him by at state.
“It’s my last shot, I was just going to give it everything I had and wrestle my best match and leave it all out there,” Calkins said.
Four Broncos were defeated in finals: Luke Fortuna (152), Anthony Ferraro (195), Edgar Ruano (220) and Michael Johnson (285). Jimmy Pawelski was fourth at 106 and Derrick Curry picked up a fifth place medal at 182.
Johnson transferred to Montini from Wyoming Seminary in Pennsylvania. The Downers Grove resident missed out on a chance to win his first Illinois state title, but has one more shot next year as a senior.
“The consolation is I’m a junior,” Johnson said. “One match doesn’t define my season. I’ve had some great experiences throughout the year: Ironman, The Clash, Cheesehead, and so you have to look at the season as a whole. It’s kind of a crummy ending to it, but I’ve got another season ahead of me and college after that, so I have to learn what I can from that sort of match and just move on.”
Johnson felt like he could have wrestled better at state, but was still positive on the entire experience.
“You can’t be down on it. I got to the finals,” Johnson said. “It was a great tournament and a great experience. The Grand March, there’s nothing like it. There’s nothing like this atmosphere. It’s just a great experience.”
The Broncos’ season still lives on in the team dual tournament. Montini defeated Westinghouse 60-12 in a sectional final Tuesday and will face Washington in a state quarterfinal at 9 a.m. Saturday in Bloomington’s U.S. Cellular Coliseum. The state championship dual will take place at 6 p.m. Saturday.
• Jason Rossi contributed to this report