LANSING | It is still relatively early, but Jason Sadlowski and Hammond Baptist are looking like a wrestling team to contend with this season.
Hammond Baptist (128) finished second behind Bowen (172) at the Illiana Christian Thanksgiving Classic. The Swordsmen placed first in four weight classes, while Bowen captured five first-place finishes. Host Illiana Christian (113) placed third in the team standings.
Sadlowski won the 106-pound weight class, pinning Bowen's Anton Little in 3:04 for the title.
"It was hard, but I pulled through," said Sadlowski, who improved to 5-0 this season. "I had good technique. I haven't lost yet, but we've only had a couple matches and tournaments. We're doing good as a team, and we're getting better."
Swordsman Jonathan Martinez placed first at 120 pounds and improved to 8-0, while Hammond Baptist's Caleb Alvarado captured first at 145 pounds with a 11-0 decision over Beecher-Grant Park's Kyle Krenmuller.
"I'm a little tired," said Alvarado, who is now 10-0. "(Krenmuller) was pretty good standing up, so I just kept taking him down. I had to spin around him, and just take him down again. I couldn't let him up and surrender a point unless I had to. The team when we walked in the first day had so much potential, and I think now we're just forming into better wrestlers."
Beecher-Grant Park Co-op took fourth in the team competition and were forced to settle for five second-place finishes without a first-place title. Mitch Darabaris of Beecher placed second at 132 pounds, pinned at 1:24 by Hammond Baptist's Jesse Ellis
"Last year I was one match away from state," Darabaris said. "So I'm hoping to go there this year. I'm just looking to do my best. I don't have to place at state, but I just want to get there."
Ellis was happy with the title, but he is looking to improve as the season progresses. Ellis (6-0) is another undefeated Swordsmen wrestler.
"I think I did pretty good, but I have to work on take downs," Ellis said. "I need to work on finishing, too. Finishing pins. I think I have a chance to go undefeated this season."
Illiana Christian's Collin Templeman finished second at 195 pounds and is looking for more self confidence as the season progresses.
"I'm doing better than what I thought I would be doing," Templeman said. "I just don't have as much confidence in myself as I should."
Illiana Christian's Alex DeYoung placed second at 285 pounds, while Lucas Miedema placed third at 132 pounds for the Vikings.