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Old 02-25-2009
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No. 1 OPRF Huskies ground Sandburg Eagles

By Mack Bolen
Illinoismatmen.com

National power Sandburg fought hard but could not stop the depth of top ranked Oak Park – River Forest, falling 35-26 in the Marist IHSA dual team sectional.

Oak Park – River Forest came in as the favorite and ranked #1 in the state, but the Huskies knew this would be a tough match. Carl Sandburg beat a very talented Marian Catholic team in the regional and possessed a well coached, balanced line-up, which included Oklahoma State bound All American Jon Morrison.

The Eagles are also the holders of three straight recent AA Dual Team championships. Along with success and tradition comes a LOT of pride.

“They have great tradition and one of the best coaching staffs in the nation,” Oak Park coach Mike Powell said. “We have a lot of respect for them and we have tried to model our program after theirs. It is an honor to be on the mat with them and it is an honor to beat them.”

“You have got to hand it to Oak Park, they have some outstanding individuals and we knew what we were getting into the dual,” Sandburg coach Eric Siebert said. “They are well coached and wrestle very hard. 189, 215 and 285 are all bouts that we felt like we could win. It could not of worked out worse for us and we really put ourselves in a very deep hole against the number one ranked team in the state.”

The match began at 189lbs and the Huskies got a key victory when Ben Brooks defeated All-Stater, Joe Schneider 3-2.

Matt Monson (215) followed with a big bonus-point win, scoring a fall with 9 seconds remaining after being behind most of the match to Saed Al-Azaam.

The Huskies got another win from Heavyweight LaQuan Hightower and Joey Brown (103) followed with a major decision to put Oak Park up 16-0.

At this point it looked like the match might be a blow-out, but the Eagles swooped back in with 4 straight wins of their own, getting a major decision from Nick Fishback (112), a decision from Dan Argueta (119), a decision from Manny Ozoa (125) and a technical fall by Morrison, which made the score 16-15 OPRF.

“They won the coin flip, we wanted odds which would of forced them to put a guy on the mat at 130,” said Siebert. “We wanted a Dardanes – Morrison match up. We wanted to beat a good guy or at least neutralize their guy. We wanted to match up our best kid against one of their best kids. They made a smart call.”

The Huskies "murders row" responded with four straight wins by Chris and Nick Dardanes tech falls at 135 and 140 pounds and a fall by Ellis Coleman (145).

“I did not have to say anything to Coleman to get him ready for tonight,” Powell said. “He is a special kid. I love him unconditionally. I have already told my boss that I am taking off a year because I am going to London in 2012 to see him in the Olympics.”

Carl Sandburg lost a team point for a violation in the 135lbs match bringing the score to 32-14 OPRF.

Dan Martin scored a decision at 152 lbs 6-4 over Jake Fishback to seal the victory for the Huskies.

Juan Soliz (160) and Chris Frostman (171) scored falls to close out the meet, OPRF winning 35-26.

Both teams had great crowd support, rocking the Marist gym with the echos following to Bloomington this Saturday.
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