Huntley places two at IESA State Meet
DeKALB – In Huntley Middle School's wrestling room, there's a list of all the school's state qualifiers, and coach Patrick Kiley said his wrestlers stare at it all the time.
Huntley seventh-grader Justin Hernandez already had his name up on the wall prior to this weekend's IESA State Meet at the NIU Convocation Center, having finished in sixth place as a sixth-grader last season.
Hernandez will be seeing his name up on the board once again, as he took fourth place at this year's meet, which concluded Saturday. Hernandez had a fall and two major decisions on his way to the semifinals, where he was pinned by Matt Kronsbein of Homer Glen Homer. Hernandez lost by fall against Deerfield's Reece Heller in the third-place match.
"It feels pretty good to place two times," Hernandez said.
Next season, Hernandez hopes to become a three-time state qualifier, and stand in the top spot at the podium.
"I think I should have done better this year. I think I should have placed top-two," he said. "Next year I think I should win it."
Homer Glen Homer won the meet with a score of 202. Huntley was 15th (46) while Clinton Rosette was 67th (11).
Huntley had six state qualifiers, and eighth-grader Brian Macarus was the school's other placer, taking fifth at 145 pounds in his first trip to state. Macarus was pinned by Cahokia Wirth's Deandre Brown in the semifinals, but was able to defeat Island Lake Matthews' Tyler Stankiewicz, 6-5 in the fifth-place match after losing his semifinal wrestleback.
"A true sign of a good wrestler is one that can actually wrestle back and win," Kiley said. "At that point, what do you want to do? Everybody wants to be a champ. After that one, where do you want to go?"
Macarus is another wrestler who's name will be on the board, after ending the year at 34-6.
"It's going to be nice," he said.
Clinton Rosette had seven state qualifiers, but the school which won the past two IESA state titles wasn't able to place a wrestler. Clinton Rosette lost a number of wrestlers from last year's team, including 14 starters. This season's group had 22 seventh-graders and 16 sixth-graders.
This year's meet was tough for coach Dan Weller's team, but hopes the experience will pay off in the future.
"We're just young right now," Weller said. "But they're hungry, they'll be back next year."
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