Wrestling: Central’s Roth stays unbeaten with first at regional
BY GARY LARSEN For Sun-Times Media February 2, 2013 10:48PM
Naperville Central's Hunter Stephens celebrates after he defeated Alec Engblom of Naperville North at the Class 3A regional Saturday. | Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 4, 2013 6:53AM
With only the top three place-winners advancing to this Saturday’s individual sectional meet, downstate dreams live and die on the third-place mat at a wrestling regional.
Naperville Central’s Hunter Stephens was just happy to keep the dream alive after last weekend’s Class 3A meet at Naperville Central.
Trailing 12-7 to Naperville North’s Alec Engbloom in their consolation match at 145, Stephens pulled one out of the fire with a third-period pin that sent him to Saturday’s sectional meet at Shepard.
“I beat him with a hip-toss the first time we wrestled and I knew I could get it again if I timed it right,” Stephens said. “I was down by a lot and knew I had to go for it again. It’s a crazy feeling to win in my senior year against our rival.”
Redhawks senior Luke Roth (30-0) stayed unbeaten and won a regional title at 220 with a title-decision win over Metea Valley’s Sam Freedlund.
“I knew I’d be quicker than (Freedlund) and as the match went on I felt like I could score when I wanted to,” Roth said. “I’m a lighter 220-pounder and that has allowed me to be quicker than a lot of these guys.”
Also advancing and placing third for Central was Shuji Mizoguchi (106), Ben Williamson (132) and Ryan Berg (195), who used a takedown in overtime to win 5-3 over Naperville North’s KiJuan Walker.
One week after winning a DVC title, Naperville North’s Wayne Yuan (36-3 at 113) won the second regional title of his high school career with a 3-1 decision over Marmion’s A.J. Jaffe.
“I’m constantly having good, tough wins and I feel good about that,” Yuan said. “The sectional will be tough but I’ve just got to continue doing what I’m doing now and I’ll be fine.”
Yuan was North’s lone sectional qualifier on the day, but seven other Huskies reached the third-place mat before losing and falling short of sectional advancement.
Metea Valley’s Breon Hoosier (170) and Sam Freedlund (220) each placed second to keep their seasons alive. Hoosier lost in overtime on the title mat to West Aurora’s Tim Young, while Freedlund lost a 5-0 title-mat decision to Central’s unbeaten Luke Roth.
“It feels good to do it my senior year and I’m hoping to go all the way to state this year,” Freedlund said. “This is definitely a good start. Breon and I will really kick it up a notch this week in practice and push it up harder than ever.”