Huntley wins FVC title
Ben Wiley didn't plan on securing Huntley a conference championship in his 195-pound match against Crystal Lake Central on Thursday night.
The junior wrestler just didn't want to give up his lead.
Wiley didn't give up his advantage, making a quick turn at the start of the third period of his match against T.J. Metz to get a pin and secure the Red Raiders an outright Fox Valley Conference championship with a 45-31 win.
"I was not expecting it was going to happen, but it happened," Wiley said. "It was the right place at the right time, and it just worked."
Huntley led 39-27 with two matches to go when Wiley and Metz met. Metz took an early 2-0 lead before Wiley battled back to tie it at 2-all and 4-all before he took a 7-4 lead after two periods.
Red Raiders coaches told Wiley all he had to do was keep his lead, so he wrestled cautiously, but when the junior saw his chance, he flipped his opponent and forced the pin, securing Huntley its fifth conference championship in the past six seasons.
"It's actually pretty exciting, I'm not going to lie," Wiley said. "It was exciting."
Huntley built out a large lead, thanks to its lower weights. Aiden Lira (113), Adam Pena (120), Jake Jensen (126), Sam Henkle (132), Zack Rogala (138) and Alessio Pezzella (145) earned pins to build a 36-9 lead.
Crystal Lake Central's Cayden Parks (152), Dillon Carlson (160) and Connor Lezama (170) won on pins to reduce Huntley's lead to 36-27 before Ryder Hunkins battled out to a 6-0 decision at 182 to set up Wiley for the win.
Huntley coach B.J. Bertelsman said he and his wrestlers didn't talk about not winning conference last season or use it as motivation for this season. Jacobs ended a 49-match winning streak for Huntley last season, and the Red Raiders moved on to this season and started from the beginning.
"I didn't know what to think heading into this year," Bertelsman said. "I always want to win conference, and I always want to win a regional. We've got half of it done tonight."
Crystal Lake Central could've shared the FVC title with Huntley and McHenry had it won Thursday's dual. Leo Diaz started the night with a 5-0 decision win at 285, and Payton Ramsey won with a pin at 106. John Barrick ended the night with a 18-7 decision win.
Tigers coach Justen Lehr changed up his lineup a little bit but didn't think a different lineup would've made a difference Thursday. Crystal Lake Central gave up 36 points in the lowerweights and didn't get points when it needed to in order to win.
"We tried," Lehr said. "A lot of our guys did what they were supposed to do and some of them didn't. We have to be better than that."
Both teams now will wait until Feb. 5 for the postseason to start with regionals. Crystal Lake Central will host a Class 2A regional, and Huntley will compete in the Class 3A Dundee-Crown Regional.
The Red Raiders are halfway to accomplishing Bertelsman's annual goal, and they are feeling good about their chances with the postseason starting.
"We'll be OK," Bertelsman said. "Belvidere [North]'s a good team, Dundee-Crown has some good individuals, but I think we can do it."