LA GRANGE – Reno Sarussi is aiming to double his pleasure.
The Lyons Township senior wrestler was a chief reason why the LT gymnastics team recorded its highlight placing in program history in mid-May. The Lions, with Sarussi a captain, placed second at the state meet.
Fast forward to this winter.
Sarussi, a senior, advanced to his second straight sectional by placing third in the 145-pound class at the Class 3A Lyons Township Regional Feb. 3. He was among seven Lions wrestlers to advance to the Hinsdale Central Sectional on Feb. 10.
Overall, Montini put on a dominating performance with 312 points to easily win the regional. Downers Grove South (171), LT (117.5), Downers Grove North (111.5) and Hinsdale Central (91) rounded out the top five in the nine-team regional.
Sarussi credited his gymnastics background and offseason conditioning program for guiding him to another sectional.
“In the offseason, I worked out a lot,” he said. “I do gymnastics, and that helped me a lot. Gymnastics is great for strength. The key for next weekend is to keep practicing hard and staying motivated and getting out there and having fun, like our coach said. We try and live by that.
Sarussi started wrestling in seventh grade and picked up gymnastics in his freshman season. He called last season’s second-place state trophy in gymnastics a big moment in his career, but noted “regionals was definitely one of the best moments” of his wrestling career.
“I’m probably better at wrestling because gymnastics takes years to get really good, as does wrestling, so I’m proud of doing well,” he said.
Lyons sophomore Jimmy Ruston was at the other end of the spectrum. Ruston won his third-place match against Hinsdale Central’s Andrew Perez to reach sectionals for the second year in a row.
But Ruston is at the beginning of his career. He admitted that his performance in regionals is a motivating chip for next weekend and the following two years. Ruston said he started wrestling because of his dad, plus his smaller stature made other sports more difficult.
“It’s going to be a lot different this time at sectionals because I know what to expect and I'm looking forward to doing my best,” Ruston said. “I’m bigger and stronger and I worked hard in the offseason doing multiple programs.”
Although Montini won 11 of the weight classes, Lyons coach Griff Powell said his team put on a solid showing at Vaughan Gym. Griffin Pohl (113), Wes Beeler (170) and Jack Bergman (182) all placed third to advance to sectionals for the Lions.
“We exceeded expectations,” he said. “We got ahead of our seeds in a lot of weight classes. I’m just super proud of the way our guys wrestled. We had a lot of guys win matches and score points.”