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Bolingbrook Junior Raiders
take team dual state championship

End three-year title run of Martinez Fox Valley Elite


By Kevin McGavin


VILLA PARK -- When the Bolingbrook Junior Raiders wrestling club entered the Illinois Kids Wrestling Federation team dual state championship match, it was on the wrong side of traditional excellence Sunday afternoon in Villa Park.
The famed Martinez Fox Valley Elite squad was gunning for its fourth-consecutive title, but the Junior Raiders had designs of their own.
Exploiting two forfeits and surviving several nail-biters, the Raiders foiled the Aurora-based program with a 48-33 victory.
It was only the second time the Raiders had advanced to the state stage; Bolingbrook was third last year in its first appearance.
“They (the Martinez family) have set the bar so high that for us to come in and beat them is a feeling I can’t even explain right now,” said Raiders president Elias Medina. “Everybody in my organization — kids, coaches, parents, board members — believed we could come in here and pull it off. It has been a long time coming.”
The critical chain of events came after the Raiders’ Jacob Dado forged the fourth tie of the match at 27-27 with a 7-1 triumph over Josh Ramos.
“I was thinking I needed a fall, work as hard as I could to pin the kid,” said Dado.
Dado had experience on his side. The eighth-grader from Lockport had already wrestled Ramos five times.
“This is the sixth time I have wrestled the kid, and the sixth time that I have beaten him,” Dado said. “It gets easier after a while, but this was one of the hardest matches I have had this season.”
The 122-pound collision between the Raiders’ David Delgado and Ivan Acevedo would have immeasurable implications.
Delgado had a second-period reversal for the opening points, only to see Acevedo do the same with 37 seconds remaining.
Delgado needed to be tended to by the trainer for more than a minute before Acevedo intentionally allowed the Raiders’ 122-pounder to escape after action resumed.
“I wasn’t surprised,” Delgado said.
The Martinez strategy backfired as Delgado eluded all of the takedown bids Acevedo presented.
The Raiders never trailed again.
“It was an unforgettable moment,” Delgado said. “It’s just a great feeling.”
“(Acevedo) ran out of gas,” said Fox Valley Elite coach Nathan Martinez, who combined with his brother, Israel — the coach at powerhouse Montini High School — for five Class AA individual state championships at West Aurora at the turn of the century. “Why ride (Delgado) out when we have time to get another takedown? We tried to get the takedown and couldn’t get the takedown.”
Corey Sapp then doubled the Raiders’ lead to 33-27 with a 4-2 victory at 130 pounds.
Another Fox Valley forfeit at the ensuing 138-pound class then provided Baylor Fernandes with a win and the Raiders a two-fall cushion at 39-27 with four matches remaining.
Vince Ochoa then extended the Raiders’ unanswered run to 18 points with yet another close match -- a 6-4 victory at 147 pounds.
The Raiders’ Connor Colbert followed on the wrong side of a 4-2 verdict, but the 156-pounder did not surrender any of the bonus points Fox Valley desperately required.
Fox Valley needed back-to-back falls at 166 and 177 pounds to force the match into criteria.
Bolingbrook's Andrew Bejarano had a late rally to tie his match against Angel Valle. The Raiders’ 166-pounder voluntarily let Valle escape in the waning seconds, but the one-point loss secured the Raiders’ first team state championship.
“I ended up giving it all out,” Bejarano said.
Bolingbrook's Caleb Koldan ended the match with a pin against Abraham Madrigal.
“We knew going in that it was going to be a very competitive match,” Medina said. “We knew we matched up well in some spots, and some we didn’t. It was going to have to be a total team effort.”
The Raiders’ Jacob Kujawa was victimized by a second period fall at the match-opening weight of 189 pounds.
But the score was soon tied when Fox Valley left its heavyweight slop open; the Raiders’ Ron Tucker was declared the winner to knot the match at 6-6.
Conor Smentana then made it a 12-point run for the Raiders with a fall in one minute at 66 pounds.
But Fox Valley regained the lead on back-to-back major decisions against Nick Gantt and Javen Estrada at 70 and 74 pounds respectively.
Anthony Schickel suffered a third-straight, plus-eight loss at 79 pounds for Bolingbrook, but Matt Ramos dramatically ended the Martinez three-match winning streak with a second period fall at 84 pounds.
After a scoreless opening period, Ramos turned Zeke Marshall and applied a cradle move with devastating effect.
“I just went for my normal move,” Ramos said. “It was really intense. (Marshall) beat me the last time we wrestled. Last time I wasn’t really into it. It was my revenge to beat him.”
James Pierandozzi and Dylan Burnoski had back-to-back simple decisions to give the Raiders a 24-18 lead.
The match, however, was tied less than a minute later when Bolingbrook's Ashton Breen was pinned at 101 pounds.
Fox Valley took its final lead at 27-24 when Juan Bazaldua defeated the Raiders’ Jake Mensik at 108 pounds.
But the Raiders’ eventual championship was inescapably connected to emerging triumphantly in more weight classes.
“They won the swing matches,” Martinez said. “That’s why we lost. The better team won today.”
The Raiders began their championship run with a 54-33 victory over the Wrestling Factory in the quarterfinals.
Champaign then became the Raiders’ semifinal victim as Bolingbrook used a 24-point run midway through the match to prevail 46-37.

Box score

Bolingbrook Junior Raiders 48, Martinez Fox Valley Elite 33
189 - Jacob Kaminski (MFVE) pinned Jacob Kujawa (BJR), 2:06
275 - Ronald Tucker (BJR), forfeit
66 - Conor Smentana (BJR) pinned Danny Curran (MFVE), 1:00
70 - Alex Ventimilla (MFVE) d. Nick Gantt (BJR), major dec. 23-9
74 - Diego Sotelo (MFVE) d. Javen Estrada (BJR), major dec. 15-6
79 - Dean Hamiti (MFVE) d. Anthony Schickel (BJR), major dec.11-2
84 - Matt Ramos (BJR) pinned Zeke Marshall (MFVE), 2:08
89 - James Pierandozzi (BJR) d. Enzo Silva (MFVE), 2-0
95 - Dylan Burnoski (BJR) d. Nico Nunez (MFVE), 6-2
101 - Noah Villarreal (MFVE) pinned Ashton Breen (BJR), 1:03
108 - Juan Bazaldua (MFVE) d. Jake Mensik (BJR), 9-2
115 - Jacob Dado (BJR) d. Joshua Ramos (MFVE), 7-1
122 - David Delgado (BJR) d. Johnny Acevedo (MFVE), 3-2
130 - Corey Sapp (BJR) d. Malachi Grimm (MFVE), 4-2
138 - Baylor Fernandes (BJR), forfeit 
147 - Vince Ochoa (BJR) d. Jiovanni Martinez (MFVE), 6-4
156 - Geno Lukowski (MFVE) d. Conner Colbert (BJR), 4-2
166 - Angel Valle (MFVE) d. Andrew Bejarano (BJR), 7-6
177 - Caleb Koldan (BJR) pinned Abraham Madrigal (MFVE), 1:14

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