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In its final tuneup before Saturday’s regional competition begins, host Neuqua Valley went 1-1 in a quad on Jan. 24 that included Fenwick, St. Rita and Waubonsie Valley.
“We beat Fenwick 72-3 so that was a pretty good match, and we lost to St. Rita 40-21,” Wildcats coach Mick Ruettiger said. “St. Rita is ranked pretty high in the state and we wrestled them tough. It was 9-5 in matches (won) and it was a strong meet for us. We just didn’t have some of the horses they have.”
Neuqua, Waubonsie, Bolingbrook and Oswego will all be present at Saturday’s Class 3A Bolingbrook Regional, and Ruettiger sees a tight race among those four teams in competing for the regional team title.
“The other teams present might not be as deep but they’ll definitely be competitive,” Ruettiger said of Oswego East, Plainfield East, Plainfield North and East Aurora. “Hopefully everybody is prepared to get things done and now we’re working on fine-tuning some things. It should be a competitive regional and whoever shows up and wrestles the best is what it will come down to.”
The Wildcats’ top two wrestlers heading into the regional are heavyweight Andrew Geers (31-0) and Connor Swier (29-3) at 182 pounds. Geers is ranked second in Illinois by Illinois Best Weekly and Swier is ranked fourth in his division.
The Wildcats placed second at the Upstate Eight Conference tournament on Jan. 19, just 11 team points ahead of Waubonsie Valley, and if they hope to win the team crown on Saturday they’ll need contributions from up and down the lineup.
Along with UEC champions Geers and Swier, Justin Killacky (19-8 at 120), Justin Klein (19-10 at 132), Brett Lindenman (25-10 at 170), and Godfrey Collins (12-2 at 220) were all UEC medalists and should earn team points for Neuqua, “but the regional will come down to how well our kids do that aren’t seeded as high,” Ruettiger said.
Waubonsie Valley will bring UEC champion Anthony Touchstone (220) to Bolingbrook, along with a pair of UEC runners-up in Jimmy Davis (132) and Howard Beatty (145).
Naperville Central, Naperville North, and Metea Valley will compete in a Class 3A regional hosted by Naperville Central, along with the No. 3-ranked team in Illinois in Marmion.
“It will obviously be a tall order for all of the teams present to overcome Marmion, but our kids are working hard and looking forward to the regional,” Central coach Rob Porter said.
Porter has a pair of DuPage Valley Conference champions in Ryan Berg (29-4 at 195) and Luke Roth (28-0 at 220), while Naperville North’s top wrestlers record-wise are Wayne Yuan (31-3 at 113) and Kijaun Walker (23-7 at 195). Metea Valley will be led by UEC champion Breon Hoosier (170).