Wrestling: Postseason roundup

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Junior Enzo Silva (right) places sixth in the state in the 113 lb. weight class (3A).

Junior Enzo Silva (right) places sixth in the state in the 113 lb. weight class (3A).

Junior Enzo Silva (right) places sixth in the state in the 113 lb. weight class (3A).

Jack Leach, Sports Editor

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Some wrestling teams may feel satisfied with a 19-5 record, and a 2nd place finish in one of the most competitive wrestling conferences, in the best wrestling state of America.
South proceeded to look otherwise.
REGIONALS:
The Cougars began their postseason push at the East Moline Regional.
Freshman Gabriel Hinkle (106 lb.) placed 3rd after finishing 2-1 on the day with wins coming from Yorkville’s Derek Butts and Normal’s Abel Ninan.
After a first round bye, junior Enzo Silva (113 lb.) finished 1st place after pins of Oswego’s Luke Barron and Yorkville’s Cole Ferguson.
Junior Andrew Cervantes (126 lb.) took 3rd place after a 3-1 record that consisted of wins against Julian Vasquez of Yorkville, Hunter Aldrich of United Township, and Michael Myers of Rock Island.
Sophomore Zachary Kolb (132 lb.) completed his day with a 2-2 record after beating out Logan Golding from United Township and Isaac Martinez from Moline. Kolb finished 4th place and was knocked out of the tournament, but due to a sickness from 3rd place finisher, Dominic Ruettiger of Minooka, Kolb qualified as an alternate.
Junior Noah Bickett (138 lb.) also placed 3rd with a 3-1 record after two pins of Rock Island’s Alex Gant and a win by decision against Yorkville’s Joe Bass.
Junior Jake Kendall (152 lb.) took the crown as regional champion after convincing wins against Oswego’s Cole Pradel, Minooka’s Jake Ryan, and Moline’s Jayden Terronez.
Senior Erik Santiago (160 lb.) finished runner-up after concluding the tournament with a 2-1 record after wins against Sam Hoffman of Normal and Zack Katula of Yorkville.
Senior Daniel Caldwell (170 lb.) finished 3rd place along with a 3-1 record with wins against Hunter Hotchkiss of Moline, Jake Duncan of Oswego, and Luke Gentry of Normal West.
SECTIONALS:
South, along with their eight sectional qualifiers, packed their bags and traveled to Godfrey, Illinois for the Alton Sectional.
Silva began the tournament with a bye in the first round, then moved on to face Pekin’s Ryan Haynes in the second. After an early pin of Haynes, Silva took on Plainfield Central’s Nick Minnito in the semi-finals; Silva won 6-2 by decision. Silva then took on Edwardsville’s Noah Surtin (Surtin went on to place 1st in the state finals) in the championship; Silva lost a close match 3-0 by decision. Silva finished runner-up, and qualified for the state finals for second consecutive season.
Kendall, just like Silva, received a first round bye into the quarterfinals. Kendall then faced Alton’s Courteney Wilson and won 12-0 by major decision. Kendall moved on to the semifinals to wrestle Zach Reese of Lockport; Kendall was defeated 8-4 by decision. Kendall’s next match was in the “Blood Round” (The final round of qualifications to determine if “you lose, you’re out, you win, you’re in.”) against Providence Catholic’s Kevin Countryman; Kendall was pinned, and missed out on the state tournament.
Santiago’s first round opponent was Oswego East’s Austin Holpuch. An early pin took Santiago into a quarterfinal matchup against Cole Smith of Providence Catholic (Smith went on to place 6th in the state finals); Santiago was pinned, and sent to the loser’s bracket. After a 14-6 major decision victory over Collinsville’s Kenny Lutz, and a 10-7 decision win over Katula, Santiago, like Kendall, moved onto the “Blood Round”. Unfortunately, the senior lost 7-4 by decision to Jacob Cronk of Lincoln-Way West; the wrestling career of South’s all-time takedown leader came to an end.
STATE:
And there was one. Silva, South’s only state qualifier, was a part of Illinois’ top 16 wrestlers in the 113 lb. weight class (3A).
Silva took on Barrington’s Tucker Priola in the first round; Silva advanced to the quarters after the 7-3 win by decision. Silva then wrestled Nate Cummings of Downers Grove North; the match concluded with a Silva victory from a 4-1 decision win. Dylan Ragusin of Montini was next for Silva. The sophomore took down Silva 5-0 by decision. After the loss, Silva was still eligible to wrestle for 3rd place; his next match resulted in a 7-5 decision loss to Marmion Academy’s Michael Jaffe. Silva was now in position to wrestle for 5th place. In a matchup against Sam Spencer of Huntley, Silva loss 7-2 by decision; another loss granted Silva a 6th place finish.
Silva not only joined his brother, Miguel, but some elite company as well, after becoming South’s fifth ever state placer (Andrew Haney, Miguel Silva, Danny Saracco, Eric Johnson).

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