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Graduated but not forgotten

 

By Gary Larsen


The Class of 2008 high school wrestlers may be gone, but they left indelible marks on their respective programs. A tip of the hat to the following wrestlers:

 

Ben Apland, Downers Grove South, University of Michigan

Apland’s 71 career pins in three varsity seasons set a new program mark. Twenty nine pins last year set the program’s bar for pins in a season. A 119-10 record puts him second all-time in career wins at South. His 44 wins last year en route to the state 215-pound title also rank him second all-time for wins in a season.

 

Jordan Blanton, Richmond-Burton, University of Illinois

Blanton’s 152 career wins, career technical falls, three state titles, and career winning percentage of .9934 are all program records. The 2008 champion at 171 pounds had 54 technical falls in his career. That placed him second all-time in Illinois behind Elgin’s Jeff Mirabella, who posted 59 technical falls from 1987-90. Blanton’s consecutive win streak of 111 matches places him fifth in Illinois behind West Aurora’s Israel Martinez (116), Montini’s Mike Benefiel (123), Andrew’s Joey Gilbert (131), and Illinois’ all-time leader Fenton’s Ed Giese, who won 132 consecutive matches from 1979-81.

 

Nate Fitzenreider, Wheaton North, University of Illinois

Last year’s third-place finisher at 119 pounds set new program records for career wins with 150, wins in a season with 44, and team points in a season with 212. Fitzenreider’s 34 wins four years ago is the most by a freshman in Falcons’ program history, and last year’s state medal also completed a rare distinction: Nate and brothers Jason and Noah all medaled downstate for the Falcons.

 

Garrett Goebel, Montini Catholic, Ohio State University (football)

When heavyweight Goebel won his 201st career match by pinning Providence Catholic’s Steve Laski last year during Montini’s team Class AA state title win, he moved one career win ahead of Illinois’ previous record-holder -- former teammate Mike Benefiel. The two-time state champ’s 131 career pins is also an Illinois record, 14 pins better than second-place Eric Siebert, who had 117 pins for LaSalle-Peru from 1989-93. Goebel and Benefiel are tied for the state record in wins for a single season (57).

 

Gordie Kickels, Lemont, Eastern Illinois (football)

Last year’s fifth-place medalist at 189 pounds set career program single-season records with 135 wins, 312 takedowns, and 41 wins. He is also the program’s only two-time state medalist. He placed fourth at 189 as a junior.

 

Josh Kratovil, Lincoln-Way Central, North Carolina-Greensboro

Kratovil graduated as the only four-time state finalist four-time medalist in Lincoln-Way Central's history. The 2008 state champion at 135 pounds finished with a program record 150 wins. Kratovil’s two state titles not only give him the Lincoln-Way Central record, but per the IHSA web site he also tied the Lincoln-Way record for state titles set by Shane Zajac in 1995 and 1996, before Lincoln-Way split into East and West campuses. Kratovil also tied Central records as a three-time conference, regional, and sectional champion, and his 20-career tournament titles is also a new program record.

 

Max Nowry, Wheeling, Northern Michigan USOEC

Nowry became the first state champion in program history by going 43-0 and winning the Illinois crown at 103 pounds last year. He set a program record 156 takedowns for a season in the process.

 

Conrad Polz, Carl Sandburg, University of Illinois

With last year’s state title at 160 pounds, Polz became the only three-time state champion in Sandburg history. His 175 career wins rank him second in program history behind Brandon Precin, who won 186 matches from 2002-06. Polz’ 75 career pins put him third in program history. He also finished in the Eagles' top five in both wins and pins in a single season. Polz' career win total puts him in a tie for 16th place all-time in Illinois with Mahomet-Seymour’s Brett Camden, who won 175 matches from 1985-89.

 

Vince Ramos, Glenbard North, Indiana university

In winning the state title at 145 pounds last year, Ramos became the third Panther in program history to win four place-medals in Champaign. He tied Panthers Joe Gomez and Tyler Williams. Ramos finished third in Illinois twice, fifth once, and his 172 career wins places him second all-time behind Gomez, who won 192 matches from 2003-06.

 

Chris Spangler, Neuqua Valley, Iowa State

Spangler set career program records for wins (157), takedowns (436), match points (1,523), and tournament titles (18) in his four-year career. He set individual season records for Neuqua with 46 wins and 222 takedowns. Spangler won a state title as a sophomore, and with last year’s third-place finish at 171 pounds became the second wrestler in program history to become a three-time state medalist. He tied for that honor with former Wildcat Matt Collum.

 

Pat Walker, Glenbard East, University of Illinois

Last year’s runner-up at 215 rewrote the Rams’ record book in a sterling four-year varsity career. He recorded new career marks with 155 wins, 79 pins, and 806 team points. Walker tied ex-Ram Marcus Cobbs for wins in a season with 45 last year, and set new single-season marks for pins with 25, team points in a season with 241, and consecutive wins with 41. He’s also the only three-time wrestling state medalist in Glenbard East history.

 

Peter Zintak, Prospect

Zintak chose not to wrestle in college after setting three program records for coach Gary McMorrow: 156 career wins, 99 career pins, and 33 pins in a season. His career pin total ties him for 12th all-time in Illinois with current Lincoln-Way Central coach Mark Ruettiger (Providence, 1978-81) and Maine West's Bill Kopecky (1995-99).  Zintak's career win total placed im two wins away from cracking the top 50 all-time in Illinois; his 33 pins last year placed him 18th all-time, tied with seven other Illinois.

 

 

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