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Schaefer's win helps Saints take 2nd
By Brian Schaumburg | Daily Herald Correspondent
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Published: 2/3/2008 12:23 AM

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Staring across the mat at him was the No. 2 ranked wrestler at 189 pounds who just happened to finished fifth at the state tournament last year.

St. Charles East senior Adam Schaefer didn't care.

He wasn't going to be denied a Class AA South Elgin regional championship.

Schaefer scored two first-period takedowns and held off Dundee-Crown's Mike Lukowski to win the 189-pound weight class with a 5-3 decision to win the regional crown.

"I wasn't sure going in what to expect," Schaefer said. "I was able to get an early takedown and my confidence went way up."

The victory wasn't enough to propel the Saints past Dundee-Crown in the team standings however. The Chargers won the team title with 197 points and advanced to the Glenbard North sectional.

The Saints took second with 183 points. Batavia was third with 146.5.

Schaefer (37-1) won the Upstate Eight Conference title and is ranked No. 11 by illinoismatmen.com. He took Lukowski down twice in the first period.

Lukowski (34-4), the Fox Valley Conference champion, managed only two escapes in the first. He also scored another point on a escape in the second period to make the score 4-3 heading to the final period.

Schaefer escaped early in the third for a point and kept Lukowski at bay the rest of the way. Then he took a victory lap in the stands to say hello to family and friends.

"Coach (Steve Smerz) always tells me I have a lot of pride," Schaefer. "I hate losing more than anything. I'm willing to die to not lose."

"You knew that was going to be good, hard-fought battle," Smerz said. "They're both real strong wrestlers and hard to score on. Adam found a way to grind it out, get a couple of takedowns early and that was the decider in the match."

Schaefer will have plenty of company at the Naperville North sectional. The Saints advanced 10 wrestlers to the sectional.

Billy Diamond was East's other regional champion. The senior pinned Batavia's Luis Campos in 2:44 at 171 pounds for his first regional title.

"Being my senior year, this definitely was a big goal of mine," Diamond said.

Brandon Rubino (112), Cody Crawford (125), Danny Mercadante (130), Harry Vyhnanek (145), Steve Schneck (215) and Blake Griffiths (285) all finished second.

Alex Maynard finished third at 103 and Nick Scimeca took third at 152 to advance.

Batavia had four regional champions and will send seven wrestlers to Naperville North.

Sophomore Logan Arlis, ranked No. 4 at 103 pounds, beat D-C's Frank Abitua by a 4-1 decision. Charlie Ryan used a third-period rally to beat East's Cody Crawford, 12-10, at 125.

"I knew after seeing the bracket (Crawford) was going to be the guy to beat," said Ryan, a junior. "I just tried to wrestle my hardest and I got it done."

Rocco Wade (130) and Matt McCarthy (215) also won regional crowns. Tyler Patton (119), Danny Watson (160) and Luis Campos (171) all finished second.

St. Charles North had two regional champs, Dave Trizzino at 140 and Eric Justice at 145. Lin Stacey, second at 152, also advanced.

"I feel more confident this year than I did last year," said Justice, who advanced to the state tournament last year. "I thought my technique has improved a lot. My strength and my condition has improved. My condition needs still needs to be tweaked a little bit.

"I have high hopes going into the rest of the state series."

Geneva has five wrestlers advancing, including 285-pound champ Frank Boenzi, who outlasted Griffiths 3-2 in overtime. Eric Hansen (112), Nick Bradberry (125), Ryan Ward (160) and Josh Miller (171) all finished third.