L-Way West rolls to initial regional title
By Randy Whalen
Lincoln-Way West's program certainly doesn't seem like its only in the second season of existence.
That is because of the excellent success the Warriors have shown this season.
That success continued on Saturday as West captured the title of the Joliet Catholic Academy Class 2A Regional.
The Warriors advanced 11 wrestlers, including seven champions, to their own sectional, which runs this Friday and Saturday.
Plus they will be competing in the Sandwich Dual Team Sectional on Feb. 22 against Montini, which edged Marmion Academy in the Yorkville Regional.
Rich East was second with 142.5, followed by Tinley Park 106.5, Rich Central 83.5, JCA 79, Hillcrest 73.5, Illiana Christian 67 and Rich South 61.
"Definitely this year we were looking to finish much higher," West senior Joe Souder said. "The mindset is that we've been working hard all season and we've done good stuff.
"We have a great coaching staff that's pushed us hard and we've succeeded."
The Warriors certainly have done that. So much so that coach Brian Glynn set the bar high, really high.
"We set the bar high, making our goal to qualify all 14 guys, and all of them were capable," Glynn said. "But we got 11 through and that's quite a lot.
"We have so many seniors, the kids have put in a lot of hard work and we accomplished our goal of a regional title."
West finished with a 20-2 mark in dual meets on the season. The only losses were to highly-ranked Montini and Sandburg.
That experience showed on Saturday as senior Mike Schloegel started the parade of Warrior champions when he won via a pin in 1:58 over Rich South's Zeke Gildon at 119 pounds.
"We have been working hard," said Schloegel, who improved to 36-4. "We've been in the room constantly.
"Matt Ruettiger, Joe Souder and I made it to state last year. Joe got fourth and we feel we can get more there this year."
Senior Matt Quigley was next with a pin in 3:14 over Hillcrest's Devante Love for the 125-pound title.
Souder (27-10) followed that up by winning the 135-pound crown with a pin in 1:02 over Hillcrest's Sean Thompson.
"We were good at (SouthWest Suburban) conference last week," said Quigley, who improved to 32-8. "Then we really came out and wrestled well (Saturday)."
Senior Matt Ruettiger (34-7) then picked up the fourth title at 140-pounds with a quick pin at the 41 second mark over Rich Central's Tyrell Jones.
Then junior Joe Kennedy (26-2) joined the bunch with a 9-1 major decision at 152 over Illiana's Mark Meekma.
At 160, Warrior senior Tim Ryan (26-9) took first with a 7-1 win against Rich East's Dolapo Igori.
Junior Colin Mulroe (20-8) rounded out the West champions with a 7-4 decision over Illiana's Mark Lyzenga.
Also advancing for West with second place efforts were freshman Kyle Rodriguez (103), freshman Matt Ryan (112) and senior Mike Heitner (285).
Rodriguez (20-16) lost 9-4 to Tinley Park's Ryan Abney in the title match at 103 while Matt Ryan (20-19) suffered a 4-2 loss ro Rich East's Scottie Bonds at 112.
Heitner (29-11) was pinned in 55 seconds by Tinley Park's Malik Hopkins in the 285 finals. Senior Scott Crosby (30-10) also advanced with an 8-1 third-place win at 171 pounds.
Juniors Luke Keefe (130) and will Hubbard (145) both dropped 2-0 decisions in third-place matches to fall a win shy of a sectional trip.
Now West sets its sights on hosting a sectional, which is certainly one of the toughest in the state.
"(Saturday) will be a mini-state tournament," said Glynn of the field that will include many qualifiers from Montini and Marmion. "But it's great to have it at home.
"I'm excited. Any slight advantage is good and hopefully being at home helps. Especially now, because every match is different."
Also earning championships were Rich East's Cameron Bonds (130), Rich Central's Ishmael Rempson (145) and JCA's Nick Collofello (171) and CJ Haney (215).