LOWELL — Hobart’s got a grievance with the Region wrestling world.
The Brickies believe they have a room full of passionate, motivated grapplers that haven’t been given the attention they deserve.
Hobart said something Saturday, winning the Northwest Crossroads Conference meet to pair with its regular-season title.
“I feel like it’s pretty important (to win a conference title). For our coaches, it’s pretty important,” Hobart senior Zack Fattore said. “People look at us and say ‘They’ve only got a few of the top, top guys.’ But it’s the guys that aren’t ranked in the state that make the difference. We’ve got a lot of tough guys on our team. Hobart’s a tough school.”
The Brickies scored 265.5 points, followed by Lowell with 223.
Fattore won the 170-pound final by tech fall, 16-0 over Lowell’s Robert Miller.
“My technique makes it look easy,” he said. “You’ve got to learn from each guy, everybody’s different. I think I got a better feel for (Miller) the second time wrestling him.”
This is only his second conference titles. He missed significant time during his first three seasons with injuries and conditioning issues.
“I’ve had so many tribulations in my wrestling career. It’s great to finally get here in full potential,” he said. “This year, I feel pretty dang good. My technique’s always been there but it’s always been my health.”
Four other Brickies won their respective weight classes, too.
Michael Hunter pinned the Red Devils’ Abel Verbeek in the first period of the 152-pound championship.
“There’s still more work to do. I’m still not wrestling to my potential,” Hunter said. “There’s little things to work on.”
Hunter said he was proud of his team.
“We definitely didn’t want to come out here and take a loss when we know we can win,” Hunter said. “We came out here and wrestled.”
Lowell finished second, winning four classes. Ryan Judge, a 106 pounder, won perhaps the most exciting match of the day with a 13-11 sudden victory over Kankakee Valley’s Andrew Kirincic.
Kirincic held a 10-7 lead late in the third period. Judge lost to Kirincic when the two met previously.
“I needed to prove myself, to get redemption. I made one little mistake and I was down, which is exactly what happened last time so it felt like deja vu,” Judge said. “I looked at (coach Bobby Howard) and he said ‘This is where you need to push yourself like you’ve never pushed yourself before.’ I looked at him and said ‘This is the culmination of everything I’ve worked this season. I need to do this now.’”
Andres Moreno cruised through the 113-pound class. The Lowell junior pinned Munster’s Ethan Castillo a minutes, 3 seconds in the final for this third conference title.
“As I pile up more (honors), it feels better and better,” Moreno said. “I feel the best I’ve ever felt (going into the sectional). I’ve got everything under control.”
Highland senior Dylan LeNeave won the 126-pound championship with a 7-5 sudden victory win over Hobart’s Nathan Schammert, avenging a Lake County tournament loss.
“I’ve worked my butt off all year and to finally pull it off felt great,” LeNeave said. “All I kept thinking was ‘I need to get a takedown. I’ve got to get a point. I’ve got to win.’”