Boys wrestling: York storms past field at 68th annual Berman Holiday Classic

Dukes earn 5 individual titles

PALATINE – On the strength of five individual champions, the York Dukes stormed past the field at the 68th annual Berman Holiday Classic on Dec. 28 at Palatine High School.

The Dukes’ Mondo Martinelli (126 pounds, 16-4), Zach Parisi (132, 25-0), Frank Nitti (138, 21-3), Danny Decrisotoro (175, 23-2) and Austin Bagdasavian (215, 24-4) helped the team amass 233 points, 60 more than runner-up Mundelein. Third-place Maine South (164.5) fell short in its bid to claim a second straight title. Richmond-Burton and South Elgin rounded out the top five.

“We lost two great state qualifiers from a year ago in Sean Berger and Sean VanSleet, but we have some terrific young guys who have come into the room and helped make up for Berger and VanSleet heading off to college,” said Parisi, who came into the tournament as the No. 5 wrestlers in the state at 132 pounds.

Parisi, who praised varsity newcomers Martinelli, Nitti and Jackson Hanselman (144) as key figures in the Dukes’ success this season, was a state qualifier last season with a 43-6 record. Teammate Danny Decrisotorom, who finished 42-9 a year ago, also was a state qualifier.

Parisi, a senior, has committed to wrestle in college at the University of Chicago.

“This year’s team is so much more rounded than last year. We have more guys making bigger contributions already this season,” Decrisotoro said.

Second-place Mundelein received first-place trophies from Ethan Thomas (13-4) at 152 and Macson Rastrelli (17-6) at 160. Both recorded pins in their respective finals.

Top-rated Teddy Flores remained perfect on the season after his magnificent effort at 120 pounds. The Maine South senior beat No. 10 Demetrios Carrera (22-2) of South Elgin 5-1 in a hard-fought contest for the championship.

“Being No. 1 in the state is just a number. I feel like I’m the best at my weight, but I also know I have to continue to work hard each and every day in order to go out and prove that I’m the No. 1 guy,” said Flores, who was third at state a year ago.

The Hawks went 3-for-3 in the final round with Brett Harmon (113) and heavyweight Tyler Fortis (24-1) joining Flores atop the podium.

Palatine fans have waited a long time to watch one of their own claim a top prize. When junior Trey Widlowski (20-3) used an escape just 4.2 seconds from time running out to beat Stevenson senior Richie Gueorguiev at 190, one can imagine the cheer that went up inside the Pirates gym.

“It feels great to win here at home, but to be honest, I’m really having fun this year and feel truly blessed for the season thus far,” said Widlowski, who conceded a takedown with 10 seconds remaining to level the match at 4-4 before his escape gave him a 5-4 victory.

By all accounts, the last time a Pirate claimed a Berman Holiday Classic title was in 2007 when two-time state qualifier Dale Jarosch carried off the top prize weeks ahead of finishing fourth at state at 112 pounds.

Carrera, a state qualifier last year as a freshman with a program-record 38-2 mark, was one of three from South Elgin who competed in the finals.

Senior Julius Avendano (18-2), who transferred in from nearby Elgin, opened the championship round with a 12-7 decision over Geneva junior Sammy Sikorski (22-7) to win the 106-pound crown.

Leo Rosas, No. 10 at 150, impressed during his final with Kevin Hernandez (21-4) of Mundelein. The match ended with a fall for the South Elgin sophomore at 5:17.

“To be honest, I really didn’t expect to come into the season ranked in the top 10 of the state. But for me it’s all about staying within myself and really working hard with my fitness so that I can keep the pace up for six minutes,” said Rosas, who is 23-2 on the season.