OREGON – Harvard wrestling’s Anthony Luis looked right at home on the award stand at the Class 1A Oregon Sectional.
He’s hoping for a repeat performance next week.
Luis punched his ticket to state by claiming a sectional title Saturday at the Blackhawk Center. Next up is the state tournament, which begins Thursday at Assembly Hall in Champaign. The 106-pound Luis (36-6) will be looking to improve on his fourth-place finish from a year ago.
“With my team, they push me forward and raise the bar a little bit higher every time,” Luis said. “I’m pushing it up higher to be more successful next week.”
Luis had little difficulty in the finals, where he dominated the entire way in posting an 8-1 decision over Sherrard’s Hunter Spengler. He scored a pair of first-period takedowns, then a reversal early in the second period to go up 6-1. After that, it was just a matter of staying out of trouble against Spengler (31-5).
The Hornets had three other wrestlers – 120-pounder Irvin Pena, 132-pounder Chance Shelton and 285-pounder Adam Freimund – punch their tickets to state by working their way through wrestlebacks.
Pena (29-14), a regional champ who lost in the quarterfinals Friday, won three straight bouts to work his way into the third-place match. He lost by a pin against Byron’s Nelson Baker, but as the top four finishers advance to state this year instead of three, the heavy lifting had already been done.
Shelton (36-11) lost in the semifinals to eventual champion J.J. Wolfe of Dakota, but rebounded with a 5-2 decision over Rock Falls’ Tiburcio Cervantes to secure a state berth. Shelton settled for fourth place after losing to Stillman Valley’s Andy Abitua, 5-1, in the third-place bout.
Freimund (41-5) lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Ben Corlett of Sherrard, but rebounded with a pair of wins to take third place. He pinned Rock Falls’ Jonas Robbins in 1:05, then gave the same treatment to Aurora Central Catholic’s Eddie Gonzalez in the third-place match.
Harvard coach Tim Haak was pleased to have four wrestlers advance to state.
“This is just such a tough sectional, and I wasn’t taking anything for granted,” Haak said. “We had to scratch and claw. I call our guys plodders. They came through the wrestleback, and I think our conditioning made such a difference.”