CHAMPAIGN – Carlos Fuentez and Dayton Olson represented Glenbard East well.
The Rams sent five wrestlers to state and Fuentez and Olson returned to Lombard with state medals around their necks.
Fuentez took third place at 106 pounds and Olson earned sixth at 126. Both seniors earned medals for the first time in their careers.
Both wrestlers won their opening match, lost in the quarterfinals and battled in the wrestlebacks to finish with all-state medals.
“I think it’s pretty hard to come back in the wrestlebacks and take third when you lose in the quarterfinals,” Fuentez said. “It was tough, but I’m glad that I finished off on a good note.”
Fuentez lost to eventual state champion Austin O’Connor of St. Rita and rallied for four straight victories in the wrestlebacks. He defeated Kirk Johansen of Glenbard North in the third place match.
Last year, Fuentez won just one match in his first state appearance. Ending his high school career with a medal was a pleasing way to go out.
“It feels pretty good,” Fuentez said. “I definitely grew into the weight class. Last year I was weighed in at 103 at the state tournament, so it’s definitely good to be the same size as the guys you’re competing against.”
As for Olson, he was one win away from placing last year, but finished off the task this time around. He was also defeated by an eventual state champion, Johnny Jimenez of Marmion, in the quarterfinals before rebounding with two wins in the wrestlebacks.
He was hoping for more than a sixth place medal entering the tournament, but it still marks a career-best showing.
“To end my season with a loss, that’s not how I wanted to end it. It makes me hungry,” Olson said. “It was a great season of wrestling. I did way better than all the other years I’ve wrestled. I capped it off not how I wanted to, but I’m in a pretty nice spot.”
In addition to the two medalists, three other Rams competed at the State Farm Center in Champaign. Senior Josh Martin (145) and junior D’Andre Johnson (285) each won their first round match and lost in the quarters. Martin won one more match in the wrestlebacks. Senior Anfarnee Rodgers lost both of his matches at 120 pounds.
In all, the five Glenbard East wrestlers went a combined 11-10 at state, which is a sharp improvement over the combined record of 5-12 last year.
• Jason Rossi contributed to this report