The OPRF wrestling team had no problem sweeping through the Class 3A Morton Regional on Saturday in Cicero. The Huskies won the meet with 233 points, leaving West Suburban (Silver) Conference rival Lyons Township in a distant second with 155.
In all, 12 OPRF wrestlers advanced out of the regional, including six winning their weight divisions outright.
Chris Dardanes (125-pound weight class), Nick Dardanes (130), Ellis Coleman (135), Dan Martin (145), Benny Brooks (189) and Matt Monson (215) all won their weight divisions. Monson, a senior who holds a 38-3 record, was down 7-1 before rallying to defeat Argo’s Fred Moses 12-11.
“That was the match of the day,” said OPRF head coach Mike Powell of the Monson-Moses match. “Matt hung in there and stayed with it. He wrestled with heart and determination.”
Other OPRF wrestlers who qualified for the sectional included Joey Brown (103), Kendall Hutchinson (112), Sam Brooks (152), Brock Friesen (160), Jon Wilson (171) and LaQuan Hightower (285).
Brown and Hightower finished second in their respective weight divisions. Brown, a senior, fell to Lyons Township’s Bob Garvick in the first-place bout. Hightower, a junior, lost to Argo’s John Grubisch.
Senior Liam Pegg (119) finished fourth in his weight class but did not qualify for the sectional.
By finishing first at the regional, OPRF earned its way to the Class 3A Dual Team State Tournament. The Huskies will face Carl Sandburg High School – winners of the Shepard Regional – on Feb. 24 at Marist High School. OPRF has never won a Dual Team State Championship.
But for now, the Huskies turn their focus to the De La Salle Individual Sectional, which begins Friday, Feb. 13. The last individual state wrestling champ from OPRF was Powell, who won the state title at 171 pounds in 1994.
“The De La Salle Sectional will be tough, there’s no question,” said Powell. “There will be some big-time match-ups, but it’s what we’ve been preparing for all year.”