Minooka Wrestlers Defend Title at Oak Park Invitational
Indians have five individuals champions, while Oswego has two reach finals.
Minooka senior wrestler Leo Ruettiger had the roughest day on the mat he could ever recall during last season’s Oak Park-River Forest Invitational.
He wasn’t about to let that happen Saturday at the same tournament.
Ruettiger was one of five individual champions for Minooka, which edged Lyons Township to win the team championship for the second season in a row.
“This was the worst tournament I’ve ever wrestled in my life last year,” Ruettiger said. “I did terrible. I lost to three kids that I had already killed earlier in the season. I don’t even remember why I wrestled bad, but I had a really bad day. It feels good to come out here and win a good tournament.”
Ruettiger placed first at 140 pounds, while the defending Class 3A state champion Indians also received first-place performances from Corbett Oughton (112), Bobby Zabel (130), Kalvin Hill (160) and Josh Pullara (171).
Minooka (218 points) finished ahead of Lyons Township (214), which had four champions, Fort Zumalt (Mo.) West (175) and Oak Park (172) in the nine-team field. Minooka is ranked No. 3 by illinoismatmen.com, while Lyons Township is fourth.
“I’m really happy with how we wrestled,” Minooka coach Bernie Ruettiger said. “LT is a good team, so it’s nice to win it. Last week we were a little under the weather and it takes a little while to get going here, but we pulled it out.”
Minooka, which hasn’t been at full strength the entire season, was missing starters Dan Ruettiger and Jake DeKlerk, but it didn’t make a difference in the outcome.
Oswego finished sixth with 99 points and had two wrestlers reach the championship match. Freshman Nick Schultz took second at 103 pounds, while Will Templin finished second at 125.
Templin won 6-2 and 8-6 decisions before falling to Fort Zumalt West’s Ben Richard 15-4 in the championship match.
“Honestly, my main goal was just to get some more mat time here and work on my technique,” Templin said. “I struggled at the beginning of the season, but I had an eight-match winning streak before losing in the finals. Hopefully I’m turning it on with regionals coming up. I’m just trying to get better and better.”
Schultz won a pair of decisions before getting pinned in the final.
“I faced some good opponents to get here,” Schultz said. “I was glad to make the finals, but I still have stuff I need to improve on. I was hoping to get top two or maybe win it, so I’m pretty happy with how I did.”
Oswego got fourth-place finishes from Max Larsen (152) and Jovan Lee (285), while Frank Yattoni (112), Max Hively (160) and Adrien Herrera (171) each took fifth.
Minooka’s Leo Ruettiger pulled out a 7-5 victory over Fort Zumalt West’s Dominic Hasenfratz after winning major decisions in his first two matches.
Oughton rallied for a 2-1 victory over Fort Zumalt West’s James Krischke in the 112-pound final.
Oughton beat Krischke in overtime in the 103-pound championship match last season at Oak Park, but dropped a close decision to him earlier this season at the Granite City Invitational.
“We’ve been wrestling each other quite a bit the last two years,” Oughton said. “I really wanted to come back and beat him again. It felt good to get that ‘W.’ He was tying me up and I couldn’t get my offense going, but I kept driving and cradled him up and got the two points right at the end to get the win.”
Zabel pinned his first two opponents and then beat Arrowhead’s Adam Yde 5-3 in the championship match.
Hill pinned Arrowhead’s Mitchell Anderson in 5:22 in his championship match, while Pullara squeaked out a 3-1 decision over Lyons Township’s Mike Rende in the final.
Minooka got second-place finishes from sophomore Mike McNaulty (119), Blake Montella (135) and Jake Residori (152), while Mitch Morris took third at 189 pounds and KJ Minor (103) and Kevin Ruettiger (125) both got fourth.
McNaulty lost a tough 4-3 decision to Oak Park’s Cameron Harris in the championship match.
“It was big for me just to get this far in the tournament,” McNaulty said. “I took 16th at the Granite City tournament this year. I hadn’t really done anything tournament-wise, so I’m pretty excited to place in general and to get to the finals was a lot of fun. At the beginning of the season I didn’t even know if I would be on varsity, so I feel pretty good about what I’ve done.”