CHICAGO | Good things are bound to happen when one team qualifies 13 wrestlers to a tournament where there are four medalists per weight class.
Mount Carmel showed up for the two-day Class 3A De La Salle Sectional on Friday with all but one wrestler in tow. The Caravan closed out the tournament Saturday night with three champions and two other wrestlers who also qualified for the state tournament. Thornton also qualified a wrestler out of the sectional, while Thornton Fractional South managed to get a pair of wrestlers on to the state tournament.
Beverly residents Mike Mizaur and Bryce Brill won the sectional tournaments for the Caravan at 132 and 145 pounds, respectively. Mizaur (32-5), a senior, won the first sectional title of his career with an 8-6 decision against York's Troy Valdez. It was the third time the senior qualified for the state tournament.
Brill (41-1), who won state last year as a freshman, traded takedowns for escape points with Sandburg's Colin Holler early in their finals match before a five-point third period by Brill cemented his 9-3 victory. Brill reached the finals with a 3-2 semifinal win against previously unbeaten Kevin Moylan of Stagg.
"I always go out there looking to score as many points as possible," Brill said of his finals match. "For me, it is easier to do that on my feet even though (Holler) is also very good on his feet."
Like Brill, Denne's semifinal match was his toughest test. Denne defeated York's Joe Giordano 1-0 to advance to the finals, where Denne (21-6) disposed of Marist's Tom Howell in the final, 8-5. The Caravan also qualified senior Brendan Hall (fourth place at 152), Notay Jackson (third place at 160) for state.
For the second weekend in a row, T.F. South 's Blake Tisza (138) reached a championship match before being turned back. Tisza (37-3) won three matches at the sectional tournament, including a first-period pin of Leyden's Jesse McCabe in the semifinals. In the finals, Tisza gave up a takedown with 15 seconds left in the match to fall to St. Rita's Tim Corse, 3-1.
Tisza led 1-0 going into the final period, but surrendered a point when he chose to wrestle out of the neutral position to begin the final period.
"I'm better on my feet, and he is more of a mat wrestler," Tisza said of his decision, which tied the match. "He just shot in and got a single-leg on me, and I tried to fight it off, but it came loose."
T.F. South's Joe Young won four matches at 182 pounds, three of them by pin. He defaulted the third-place match against Proviso West's Jameer Thurman because of a swollen right thumb. He qualified for state when he defeated the Caravan's Jimm Mickens in the consolation semifinal match, 5-3.
"I just relied on my defense in that match," Young said. "Instead of being too aggressive, I just capiltalized on his mistakes, like when I blocked his first shoot and got a takedown."
Thornton freshman Kris Williams scored the first takedown early in the championship match at 106 pounds, but Matthew Rundell of Oak Park-River Forest battled back with two takedowns and two back points in the final period to come out on top, 13-8.