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The Fenton High School Bison pose with the championship plaque from their 2015 Metro Suburban Conference wrestling tournament win.

Fenton romps in inaugural
Metro Suburban Conference meet

Bison boast six champions;

Riverside-Brookfield finishes 2nd


Story and photos by Ed Muniz

BENSENVILLE -- The Metro Suburban Conference held it’s first wrestling conference championships Saturday (January 24) at Fenton High School.
The state-ranked hosts (No. 13 in Class AA) came in as the clear favorite and had designs on an undefeated conference dual meet season. 
The Bison ended the meet with six champions, four runners-up and four top five finishers and romped to the conference crown with 279.5 points.
Riverside-Brookfield was a distant second with 196 points followed by Walther Christian at 177 and Aurora Central Catholic with 115. Ridgewood rounded  out the top five teams with 93 points.
Winning by such a large margin would satisfy most coaches but Bison coach Brian Hastings still felt his team wasn’t doing enough.
“I thought we should have scored more in many bouts. We didn’t really wrestle to score," said Hastings. "Even our champions, a lot of them didn’t continue to score, and we’re a little disappointed with that. Ryan (Mencini) wrestled great, Corey (Muniz) had two big wins at 106 and he’s an awesome leader. Antoine (Bess) did great. (Overall) I guess not bad as a team.”
106 pounds
Corey Muniz (right) gets the winning point against Marco Padilla, of Elmwood Park.
The final saw state-ranked seniors face off. Top seed and Class AA sixth-ranked Marco Padilla (24-7), of Elmwood Park, stood across from fifth-ranked Corey Muniz (25-5), of Fenton. In a bout where a single point decided the outcome, the wrestler who held the lead had the advantage. 
Muniz managed to grab the first points with a takedown and never trailed. He managed to control and wrestle just enough to hold off his tough Tiger foe for the 5-4 win. 
“I wanted to make sure to push the pace and get the first takedown, and I think the first takedown will change the outcome of any match that’s close like that,” said Muniz. “I’m not where I want to be, and I would like to score more points but riding is kinda my thing.”
Third place went to freshman Joe Bianchini, of Immaculate Conception, who defeated Riverside-Brookfield's Tommy Russell by technical fall 20-4.
Ridgewood saw the first of its two champions crowned when junior Adonis Silva (20-6) upended Josh Contrereas (17-5), of Riverside-Brookfield, 3-2.
Third place went to freshman William Miller, of Walther Christian, by fall at 2:16 over Angel Vargas, of Elmwood Park. Manny Morales, of Fenton, took the fifth place spot with a fall over Giovanni Giron, of Aurora Central Catholic, in 32 seconds
Antoine Bess (left), of Fenton, and Nick Giurini, of Riverside-Brookfield, look for inside control during their championship bout. Bess won 5-2
Fenton senior wrestler Antoine Bess (25-4) secured the championship after coasting to a 5-2 decision over Nick Giurini (7-3), of Riverside-Brookfield. With stellar defense and enough offense, Bess appeared almost bored in the bout.
“I felt very confident coming into the tournament,” said Bess. “I think I need to take more shots moving forward, implementing fakes into my offense because I feel if I do that, I’ll be more explosive. Winning conference is great but it’s not my ultimate goal.”
Amadeus Lopez, of Elmwood Park, snagged the third place bout after defeating Nick Peterson, of Walther Christian, 6-5. Armando Salgado rounded out the top five for 
Ridgewood after pinning John Borghese of Guerin.
Sophomore Bison Ryan Mencini came into the conference tournament a .500 wrestler at 8-8. He left as the champion after dispatching Max Reeze, of Riverside-Brookfield, with a 15-6 major decision.
From the opening whistle Mencini dictated the match. He scored first and took advantage of any error or lapse by Reeze. It propelled him to a comfortable lead he maintained throughout.
“This week was pretty hard, I didn’t have much energy but I got through it,” said Mencini. 
The Bison wrestler had wrestled at 132 pounds all year but worked his way down to the new weight.
“It was hard, and it’s hardest when you get there but I’ll get used to it," he said. "I’ll work at being more offensive and work on my shots and my conditioning, because I give up points when I’m tired.”
Ridgewood’s Rocco Caringella finished off Jonah McGinnis, of Walther Christian, in short fashion, pinning him in 1:30 to gain the third place spot. Jake Zweirzynski finished fifth for Elmwood Park.
What looked to be all Antonio Ochoa (17-6), of Riverside-Brookfield, early in the championship match, quickly changed in one move from Caleb Park, of Aurora Central Catholic. Ochoa was in total control until Park reached the neutral position on his feet and used an unusual 
upper body throw to put Ochoa on his back and turn everything around in the match.
The Aurora Central Catholic Junior grabbed near fall points and never looked back as Ochoa unsuccessfully tried to get back into the match. With the 12-9 win, Park 
(14-1) gave Aurora Central Catholic its first champion of the night.
The third place bout didn’t last long -- Mike Bertone, of Glenbard South, pinned Dominik Roztocki, of Fenton, in 1:47. Lisandro Munoz, of Ridgewood, took fifth after a 
quick fall of Guerin’s Ricky Reiss in 35 seconds.
Sophomore Fenton wrestler Angel Nava (19-12) began wrestling two years ago. He has taken to the sport like a fish to water and grabbed his first conference title with a 9-3 decision over Isaac Lyzenga (22-12), of Illiana Christian.
“I kept fighting to the last second. I didn’t stop wrestling all day,” said Nava. 
When asked how he can improve, Nava added, “I need to work on my technique because I’ve only wrestled two years and I’m competing against guys that have been wrestling since they were little kids so I have a lot to catch up on.”
The third place bout was a close one that went Ian Evans way. The Walther Christian wrestler hung on to defeat Joel Gonzalez, of Riverside-Brookfield, 5-4. The fifth spot was earned by Dakota Marino, of Glenbard South, with a fall over Frank Soto, of Immaculate Conception, in 3:38.
Riverside-Brookfield’s John Szydlo (25-1) has been flying under the radar all season. His season totals had been tallied at 152 where he had only suffered one recent loss. The decision to drop a weight class may have been just what he needed moving forward. The lone opponent to defeat him was a conference foe at 152.
Szydlo grabbed the title at 145 after defeating Oscar Ledezma (21-4), of Fenton, 3-1. There wasn’t a lot of scoring in the defensive battle but a key takedown by Szydlo was just enough as his defense stifled all attempts by Ledezma.
Third place went to Asher Eichert, of Walther Christian, with his 11-7 decision over Levi Severson, of Wheaton Academy. Brenden O'Brien captured the fifth place match for Immaculate Conception with a 5-0 decision oover Vince Marra, of Glenbard South. 
Grayson Kaspar (top), of Fenton, works for near-fall points against Joe Mattas, of Aurora Central Catholic.
Grayson Kaspar (25-5), of Fenton, took two years off from wrestling. The senior Bison has returned and ran roughshod over his tournament opponents. The No. 9-ranked grappler scored a 53-second fall, a 22-5 second period tech fall and a championship 16-0 first period tech fall over Joe Mattas, of Aurora Central Catholic, in three matches.
“I didn’t have much of a challenge today, but I thought my shots worked good and I turned it up with a little more aggressiveness to get ahead," he said. "It’s the right time to turn it up heading to the regional.”
Dan Zawislak, of Glenbard South, grabbed third with a fall in 1:10 against Riverside-Brookfield’s John Glover. Elijah Gaiter, of Walther Christian, took fifth with a fall of Joe Otte, of Illiana Christian, in 2:49.
Top-seeded Ean Eichert (20-2), of Walther Christian, lived up to his ranking when he won took the title over Fenton's Joe Oweina (21-9) with a fall at 5:09. The match was scoreless for a majority of the match until Eichert took advantage of an opportunity and forced Oweina to his back to complete the fall.
Anthony Giovannielli, of Ridgewood, shut out Ernesto Bobe, of Riverside-Brookfield, 8-0 to take home third place. Guerin’s Frank Marinopoulis grabbed fifth with a fall over Shannon Scott, of Elmwood Park, in 4:26.
Aurora Central Catholic captured its second title when Eric Iles (10-12) decisioned Dylan Butts, of Fenton, 15-7. But the match was much closer than the score indicated.
Butts jumped ahead early and led nearing the end of the second period, but ill-advised attempts and lack of experience was all Iles needed to grab the advantage and stay ahead in the last period for the win.
Aiden Naylor, of Wheaton Academy, captured the third place win after pinning Noah Collins in 2:52. A 21-second fall ended the fifth place bout when Riverside-Brookfield's Vince Castillo pinned Anthony Silva, of Immaculate Conception.
Fenton's Juan Alfaro (left) takes a shot against Aurora Central Catholic's Chris Pederson.  Alfaro went on to win by fall.
At 24-4 and fourth ranked in AA at 170, Fenton’s Juan Alfaro looked to get some work in at 182. What he did was grab a pair of falls including his championship win over Chris Pederson (11-7), of Aurora Central Catholic. 
The senior Bison was the class of the weight. Never trailing and scoring at will, Alfaro looked to be where every wrestlers wants to be as the state tournament begins in two weeks.
“I feel stronger at 170, but I like the challenge of 182,” said Alfaro. “I think I have prepared myself for what’s ahead and I think I’m peaking at the right time so I’m looking to do well. I do need work on my top and will do that for the next two weeks.”
Third place went to Dan Lyzenga, of Illiana Christian, who held on to a 5-4 decision over Malik Jenkins, of Walther Christian. 
Fifth place was grabbed by Glenbard South's Frank Stramaglia, who defeated Chris Colvin, of Riverside-Brookfield, 8-4.
Walther Christian crowned its second champion after Josiah Clair (17-4) pinned Numan Ayhan (10-6), of Glenbard South, in 1:49. Clair had a stellar day pinning all three of his opponents in short fashion. In three bouts, Clair wrestled a total of 3:27. 
Ivan Rodriguez, of Fenton, took third with his fall of T.J. Colon, of Aurora Central Catholic, in 1:24. Fifth place went to Zach Wakely, of Wheaton Academy.
If ever there was poster picture of frustration it would clearly have been taken of Riverside-Brookfield’s Al’lon Carter (9-1). No matter what he did, he couldn’t figure out how to crack the defense of Ridgewood’s Vinny Scaletta (24-4). 
The longer the match went on the more frustration built and showed up on Carter’s face. The thick-bodied Scaletta used his power and agility to fight off every attempt Carter made. After Scaletta scored a takedown, you could sense that he wasn’t going to lose. Scaletta won 4-2, and Carter was left to calm himself after his first loss of the season.
Fenton’s Rodrigo Castaneda upended Wheaton Academy’s Josh Duttoin in the third place match with a tight 3-1 decision. Chris Gamboa, of Aurora Central Catholic, held on for the 9-6 decision against Michael Szczygiel, of Guerin.
Top seed Jamie Galo (24-5), of Elmwood Park, did what he was expected to do -- capture the heavyweight title -- after pinning Isaiah Brook, of Fenton, at 1:41. Galo took his time as Brook looked to set up a headlock throw. But the much taller Galo made that difficult and slowly managed to take Brook to his back and quickly pin him.
Shawn Jan, of Riverside-Brookfield, pinned Jeremy Anicella, of Immaculate Conception, in 2:32 to capture third while Walther Christian’s Mykel Farries fell to Omar Sharif of Glenbard South in 3:14.
Eleven teams competed in the meet. Conference members Chicago Christian, St. Edward and Timothy Christian do not field wrestling teams.
Final team standings 
1. 279.5 Fenton
2. 196     Riverside Brookfield
3. 177     Walther Christian
4. 115     Aurora Central Catholic
5. 93       Ridgewood
6. 82       Glenbard South
7. 77.5    Elmwood Park
8. 53       Wheaton Academy
9. 51.5    Immaculate Conception
10. 35       Illiana Christian
11. 20       Guerin Prep
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