Three Saint Patrick wrestlers have qualified for the state tournament.
Seniors Dan Baker (152 pounds, 36-8 record) and Mike Valicento (145, 20-9), and sophomore Anthony Greco (106, 25-7), each advanced by finishing in the top four at the Wauconda Sectional on Saturday, Feb. 11.
Anthony Greco, currently ranked No. 9 in the state, took second place at the sectional. After receiving a bye in Round 1 by winning his regional, the sophomore recorded victories in the quarterfinals, by fall, in 3:46 in the second period over Lucas Kaiser of Wauconda and in the semifinals, 6-3, over Alex Barbarise from Antioch, to secure his spot in Champaign. Greco then lost 2-0 to Landon Pfieffer from Marengo in the sectional title match. Greco will face De LaSalle’s Aaron Zebrauskus in the first round of the state tournament Thursday afternoon.
Seventh-ranked Dan Baker finished third at the sectional. Baker won a hard-fought first round match over Prairie Ridge’s No. 5 ranked Drake Regenhardt. In the semifinals, Baker lost a back-and-forth match to Lakes Communities Xavian Girona, 5-3. In the wrestle backs, Baker rebounded, defeating Tommy Hoy of Carmel Catholic with a pin in 5:39 to punch his ticket to state. In the consolation finals, Baker earned a 6-0 victory over Regenhardt for the second time of the tournament. Baker’s first round match Thursday will be against returning state place winner Demarius Smith-Terhune from Rantoul High School.
Mike Valicento will be headed back to the state tournament for the second consecutive year after finishing fourth in his weight class. After a second-round loss to Marian Central’s Anthony Silva, the senior recorded three straight victories in the wrestle backs. A fall over John Martinez from Clemente and a 15-4 major decision over Eduardo Diaz from Crystal Lake Central got him to the qualifying match. In the match to qualify Valicento faced off against Ryan Mencini of Fenton and recorded another pinfall in 3:42 to become just the 10th St. Patrick wrestler to qualify for the state tournament multiple times. Valicento is set to compete against top-ranked Egan Berta from Lemont High School in his first round bout.
Senior Pat Mullane (160) and junior Ed Barzowski (126) missed the opportunity to become the Shamrocks fourth and fifth state qualifiers by the narrowest of margins. Mullane lost his qualifying match by a score of 7-6, while Barzowski was defeated 8-7.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our three state qualifiers, they wrestled tough, and earned their right to compete at the state tournament,” coach Dominic Angelo said. “Our goal was to get all five guys to qualify, and we fell just a bit short. Pat and Ed did everything right, and what they had to do to win their bouts, a couple of things we can’t control didn’t go our way cost them their opportunities to qualify.”
St. Pat’s three state qualifiers will be back in action this weekend. The state tournament begins on Thursday, Feb. 16, and runs through Saturday, Feb. 18.
The Shamrocks will also compete in the Crystal Lake Central Dual Team Sectional on Saturday, Feb. 21. St. Pat’s will face Wauconda at the sectional, and would advance to the Team State Tournament with a victory.