PALOS HEIGHTS | Thornwood's Kris Williams is developing a friendly rivalry with Marist's Mark Duda and getting the upper hand on it.
Williams improved his record to 3-1 versus Duda and 24-0 on the season as he captured the 120-pound weight class at Saturday's 3A Shepard Regional.
Williams won by a 3-2 decision and will look to continue his road to a third straight state championship next week at the 3A Hinsdale Central Sectional.
Williams was only one of two wrestlers to defeat a Marist wrestler in a first-place match.
"I love wrestling him," Williams said of Duda. "He always keeps me on my toes and never lets me slack off. Next week I just want to try and increase the score difference. I feel like if I could of kept pressuring him, I could have won by more than just one."
Thornwood's Dwayne Franklin (10-1) captured first place in the 220-pound class with a 2-1 decision over Richards' Santiago Calderon.
"He's a tough opponent and it just feels great to win regionals," Franklin said. "I got a lot of shots in that final match, I just couldn't finish them.
"Now just head on to the sectional and hopefully the state series. That's everybody's wish isn't it? I'm looking for a state championship."
Thornwood's Justin Pickett captured a third-place finish at 145 and will make the trip to Hinsdale Central next weekend.
"I was out for most of the season with an injury," Pickett said. "I'm just coming back and wrestling hard. I'm feeling pretty good, and looking forward to sectionals."
T.F. South's Tyrone Johnson captured second at 182 pounds after running into a tough opponent in Marist's Alex Benoit, who is 33-2 on the season.
"When I was winning, I felt like I was on top of the world," Johnson said. "But when I finally got that loss, it was like the ground came out from under my feet. I've never really been in a position where I've been dominated in such a way."
T.F. South's Jake Tisza was third at 138 pounds with a 13-2 decision over Thornton Township's Armani Lewis.
"I'm pretty happy, but I know I have to prepare more for next week," Tisza said. "Start wrestling a little harder in the wrestling room and just keep myself mentally prepared."
Thornton Township's Josh Fisher took third at 113 with a 9-4 decision over John Graham of Thornwood.