BARRINGTON – Cary-Grove junior Logan Hanselmann never had stepped on a wrestling mat before his freshman year.
Three years later, Hanselmann qualified for the state finals with a fourth-place finish at 120 pounds in the Barrington Sectional on Saturday. The accomplishment is even more remarkable because Hanselmann missed last season with a shoulder injury.
“Coming in as a freshman, I didn’t know anything,” Hanselmann said. “I’m really happy with myself.”
Hanselmann was one of three Trojans to qualify for the state meet, along with Michael Cullen, who won the 113-pound title, and Mike Underwood, who finished third at 138.
Cullen, whose family encouraged Hanselmann to take up wrestling, said getting to state with only two years of wrestling experience is remarkable.
“I was super proud of him,” Cullen said. “I give him all the credit in the world for doing that.”
C-G coach Ryan Ludwig said the accomplishment is reflective of the commitment and the work ethic Hanselmann has.
“[Hanselmann’s] a tough, hard-nosed kid,” Ludwig said. “Every single day he works hard.”
In his championship match, Cullen defeated New Trier’s Collin Kenyon by a 11-1 major decision. The lopsided win gives him confidence heading to Champaign next weekend.
“Being able to dominate in a sectional final gives me a little swagger going into state,” Cullen said. “At the same time, you’ve got to be humble and not get too overconfident.”
Underwood earned his third-place finish with a first-period pin in the consolation semifinals against Lake Zurich’s Brandon Arteaga and an overtime pin in the third-place match against Harlem’s Jake Messink.
“[Underwood’s] a kid that puts everything he has into the practice room,” Ludwig said. “I’m so proud he made it down state.”
McHenry’s Wade Lardy won a sectional title at 145 pounds and had to get through three ranked wrestlers to do it. Lardy, ranked No. 7 by illinoismatmen.com, defeated No. 2-ranked Justin Weber from Stevenson, 4-3, in the championship match.
Warriors coach Will Gaddy said Lardy wanted to turn the tables on Weber and attack an opponent who normally is the attacker.
“Wade wanted to beat Weber at his own game,” Gaddy said. “It kind of surprised [Weber].”
In the quarterfinals, Lardy defeated No. 6-ranked Coord Wiseman from Barrington. In the semifinals, Lardy beat Harlem’s Fernando Silva, an honorable mention selection. The tough bracket was motivation for Lardy.
“I was just really excited how tough my bracket was,” Lardy said. “I knew if I came in here excited, the outcome would be good.”
Also for McHenry, Mike Infelise qualified for state with at fourth-place finish at 126.
Crystal Lake South qualified three wrestlers to state. Nick Gil at 126, Eric Barone (132) and Nick Peters (138) all finished second to qualify.
Gators coach Ross Ryan said the accomplishment was crystallized in the semifinals, where Barone and Peters were wrestling to get to state at the same time on adjoining mats. Ryan was coaching Peters to a close decision win while keeping an eye on Barone, who won in an ultimate tiebreaker.
“To see [Barone] getting his hand raised simultaneously with [Peters], I was an emotional wreck,” Ryan said.
Dundee-Crown’s Ray Griggel needed to beat Grant’s Connor Haran in the consolation semifinals to secure his place at state. Haran had beaten Griggel on Friday in the first round, 8-3, but Griggel learned from that experience.
Griggel pinned Haran in the first period to punch his ticket to state. Chargers coach Bob Skillman said Griggel missed the first half of the season with an injury but got back to doing what he does best, being the attacker.
“[Griggel] was the shooter. He was on offense all day long,” Skillman said.
Also qualifying was Jacobs’ Austin Ryan, who placed second at 106, and Prairie Ridge freshman Travis Piotrowski, who won by pin in his 106-pound third-place match. Huntley’s Brandon Mabry came back from a close semifinal loss with two wins in the consolation bracket to qualify for state with a third-place finish.