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Emotional roller coaster
By Kevin McGavin | Daily Herald Correspondent

West Aurora's Mario Gonzalez defeated St. Charles East's Adam Schaefer in the 189-pound semifinals Saturday at the Naperville North sectional.


Marcelle Bright | Staff Photographer

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Published: 2/10/2008 12:06 AM

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The line is as fine as ever for the area individual wrestling sectional.

Hopes and expectations were dashed for some; others had their moment to shine.

On the bright side Batavia had three wrestlers in the finals of the Class AA Naperville North tournament on Saturday, which meant automatic advancement to the state finals next weekend.

West Aurora had competitors in back-to-back weight classes vie for crowns, and the last four championship bouts featured area athletes when St. Charles East senior Billy Diamond advanced at 171 and Geneva sophomore Frank Boenzi was not scored upon in earning a berth for the heavyweight title.

But for three reigning state qualifiers, it was a worst-case scenario that came to fruition.

"There are only three slots (to qualify downstate)," St. Charles East coach Steve Smerz said.

St. Charles North senior Eric Justice and West Aurora junior Josh Zinzer, both of whom were sixth in state last year, painful defeats in the third-place consolation bracket ended their individual seasons.

West Aurora senior Tanner Andrews also failed in his quest for consecutive berths to state at 119 pounds.

The championship bracket could not have started any better for Batavia in general and Logan Arlis in particular.

The sophomore 103-pounder was an escape away in the championship match against Glenbard North freshman Joe Gosinski from a flawless tournament.

Arlis proved to be the only sectional champion from the area on the day with his 5-1 triumph.

"I really wanted to avenge that (regular-season) loss (to Gosinski) in the finals," Arlis said. "I was looking for the snap-down headlock all night."

Arlis used the maneuver for both takedowns in the championship match.

"(Logan) is a sophomore who wrestles like a senior," said his father Tom, the Batavia coach. "He just dominated the whole tournament."

Rocco Wade was the Bulldogs' second finalist at 130 pounds, but Glenbard North junior Jimmy Chase had one of the Panthers' five championships with a first-period fall.

Danny Watson had a rematch of the South Elgin regional final against Elgin senior Terrell Walker, but a 7-3 triumph by the Maroons' 160-pounder ensued.

The Bulldogs' final hope for a fourth qualifier ended prematurely when Matt McCarter was unable to answer the bell following a knee injury in the 215-pound semifinals.

"Matt getting hurt just killed us," Arlis said.

West Aurora was one of four top-nine teams in the state competing, and the Blackhawks' vision of breaking a program record for individual state qualifiers never materialized.

But Mario Gonzalez and Dan Carey made sure West Aurora would be represented in Champaign; the two made back-to-back finals appearances at 189 and 215 pounds, respectively.

In a potential preview of he state final, Gonzalez dropped a 4-2 triple-overtime match to Lemont senior Gordon Kickels.

"It was my own fault," Gonzalez said. "I shouldn't have left it in the hands of the referees."

Carey fell to Rolling Meadows' Mikal Johnson, and the Blackhawks' Vince Morris was denied by Wheaton North senior Bobby Munro in the 130-pound third-place match.

Diamond began the run of four championship appearances at 171 pounds, but the Saints' senior was victimized once again by undefeated Neuqua Valley past-state champion Chris Spangler.

"(Qualifying for state) was one of my goals at the start of the season," Diamond said.

Adam Schaefer was the odd-man out at 189 pounds; the Saints' senior fell to Gonzalez in the semifinals, and his rematch against Dundee-Crown returning state-placer Mike Lukowski ended in heartache.

The Chargers' senior reversed the result from the South Elgin regional final from last week with a 3-1 win, the final points coming on a takedown with 25 seconds remaining.

"You're trying everything you can to get down," Smerz said. "Those (losses in) third-place matches just kill you (emotionally)."

Boenzi capped the day of area qualifiers in the heavyweight finals, but Naperville North junior Mike Albanese one-upped the sophomore titan with a first-period fall.

Marcelle Bright/

St. Charles East's Billy Diamond, left, beat Conant's Joe Patricelli by fall in the 171-pound semifinals Saturday at the Naperville North sectional.