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Tournament tough on the first weekend

By Curt Herron

The big three has nothing to do with automobiles at the Fuetz Classic at Conant this weekend.

The Class 3A power trio of Providence, Oak Park and Glenbard North figure to be the teams to beat in the two-day competition that starts at 11 a.m. Friday in Hoffman Estates. Quarterfinal action is scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday. On Saturday, the semifinals are set to begin at 10 a.m., followed by the the championship round  at 4 p.m.

A year ago, Providence edged Glenbard North 248-245 for top honors in the event. Glenbard North easily captured the championship the year before.

Coach Keith Healy's Celtics return several key members from last season's squad, which finished second behind Montini in the Class AA title meet.

Leading the way for Providence is Edwin Cooper, who was second at 103 a year ago, and enters this season as the top-ranked individual at 112.

Jake Wojcik placed fifth at 130 last season and is ranked third at 135. Other returning Celtic state qualifiers are Tom Ambrose, Brian Walsh and Jeremy Crnich.

Oak Park has four returning state qualifiers, including three place winners, but two of them didn't wrestle for the Huskies a year ago.

Chris and Nick Dardanes transferred from Fenwick and suddenly coach Mike Powell's squad emerged as a serious state threat.

Leading the way for the Huskies is Ellis Coleman, who was third at 125 last year and fifth at 112 in 2007. He is ranked first at 135 by Illinois Best Weekly.

Chris Dardanes was fourth at 125 and Nick Dardanes finished fifth at 119 a year ago. This season Nick is ranked second at 125 while Chris is third at 130.

Dan Martin fell one match shy of placing at 145 in 2008 for Oak Park. This year he is ranked third at the same weight.

Glenbard North is paced by three returning state place winners, including state champions Tony Ramos and Jimmy Chase.

Ramos, who won at 125 last year and at 112 in 2007, took second at 103 in 2006. He holds the top spot at 130 in the preseason poll.

 Chase, last year's champion at 130, who also placed fourth at 119 the year before, is ranked second to Coleman at 135.

Coach Mark Hahn's other returning place winner is soph Joe Gosinski, who was sixth at 103 last season and is ranked second to Cooper at 112 this year.

Two of the top four teams in Class 2A will compete in the tournament. Crystal Lake Central is ranked second while Bloomington is fourth.

Joey Kielbasa and Trevor Parlberg are returning state qualifiers for the Tigers. Parlberg is ranked second at 171, and Kielbasa is second at 145 in Class 2A.

De La Salle's Clayton Kendall took fourth at 171 a year ago and is ranked second at 189. Naperville North's Mike Albanese just missed placing at 285 and is ranked second there.

Other returning state qualifiers who are ranked by Illinois Best Weekly are Schaumburg's Evan Hafner (sixth at 125) and De La Salle's Curtis Blaydes (fifth at 285).

Downstate wrestlers to keep an eye on are Bloomington's Jake Bellis (top-ranked at 103 in 2A) and Normal's Tony Troemel (fourth at 152).

Ramos seeks to become a four-time champion at the Fuetz Classic. Coleman has won the tournament twice; his only loss came to Ramos in the 119 title match in 2006.

Other returning champions are Rolling Meadows' Tom Davidson, Cooper, Ambrose, Wojcik and Blaydes. Chase, who missed the meet due to injury last year, won a title in 2006.

Individuals who took runner-up honors a year ago include St. Charles East's Brandon Rubino, Marmion's Pat Greco, Glenbard East's Gosinski and Providence's Walsh.


Today's Schedule: Season Schedule