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Daily Journal
     January 31, 2020      #70-31 KDJ
 

WRESTLING: Bradley-Bourbonnais repeats as All-City

Cody Smith
csmith@daily-journal.com


KANKAKEE — In a community as talent-rich with wrestling as the Kankakee area, plenty of wrestling meets, tournaments and events receive hype and attention every season, but every winter, one event in particular stands out — All-City.

The annual event features the three traditional All-City schools of Bishop McNamara, this year’s host, Bradley-Bourbonnais and Kankakee, but Manteno is also a part of the wrestling All-City festivities.

It didn’t matter who else hit the mats at McNamara on Wednesday — Bradley-Bourbonnais was locked in from the opening match and ran away with the team crown, sending its seniors off with a clean sweep of All-City titles in their four-year wrestling tenures.

“It’s really cool,” senior Austin Spacht, the 120-pound individual champion said of his team’s four-peat. “I can look back if I potentially coach at BBCHS later or just around town, I can say we won All-City all four years. It’s a really cool accomplishment.”

The Boilers swept their competition, going 3-0 on the night including a convincing 45-15 win against the Irish in the championship.

“The scoreboard looks good, but there’s definitely some things we got to work on,” Bradley-Bourbonnais head coach Mike Spiwak said. “This is the time of the year where you basically have a week and a half to fix it or you’ll be at home with the other two-thirds of the state that didn’t fix it.”

Bradley-Bourbonnais came into tonight with a focus on the third period. The Boilers wanted to be resilient and display their mental toughness deep in matches.

“Third-period toughness and mental toughness is something we talk about every single day,” coach Spiwak said. “Being resilient and tough. We watch come-from-behind wins all the time.”

One Bradley-Bourbonnais wrestler who took this third-period mentality to heart was Spacht, who had the match of the night with McNamara’s Blain Christie.

Spacht scored a takedown for two points in the second period and added an escape for another point to take a 3-0 lead headed into the final period. From there, he managed to hold off Christie’s late push and take a 4-2 victory.

“For Austin to pull that win out against such a good guy is huge,” Spiwak said. “Being a coach that’s going to have wrestle this team every year, it’s scary that Blain Christie is coming back.”

Spacht and Christie, similar to many of the grapplers who wrestled across all four teams Wednesday, have grown up wrestling together and against each other, and Spacht and Christie have held a tight, lifelong friendship.

“It was definitely a different mentality when I was preparing last year,” Spacht said of facing his friend. “But this year, I was able to turn it around and think of it as a regular match. We were cool right after and pals again. I hope he gets down to state in [Class] 1A and brings home the state tile.”

This tournament in particular, which goes back for decades, resulted in a bigger crowd than usual. McNamara wrestling coach Jake Kimberlin had a big hand in bringing in the crowd. He ended up reaching out to the other coaches before the tournament in order to bring in more wrestling fans.

“I told all the coaches beforehand a couple of weeks ago, ‘Let’s make wrestling great again; let’s get everybody out in the community watching wrestling,’” Kimberlin said. “We need to get our numbers up; kids aren’t [wrestling] as much anymore, and that’s actually nationwide.”

McNamara took time out to honor its lone senior, Caleb Magruder, who went 3-0 for senior night and won the individual All-City crown at 126 pounds.

“I enjoyed everyone that came out to watch me,” Magruder said. “It was a great atmosphere and the best I could ever ask for.”

As for the rest of the Irish, they managed to show their fight in front of their home crowd. McNamara finished the tournament in second place after convincing wins against both Kankakee and Manteno.

The Irish outscored the Kays 48-30 and the Panthers 42-24 before falling to the Boilers in the championship round. McNamara totaled six pins in its victories against both Kankakee and Manteno.

“I think we all competed tough,” Kimberlin said. “I think a couple of matches could have [gone] either way if we would have pulled off some takedowns and got a few points here and there. Overall, I think we all competed, every single one of my guys.”

Kankakee and Manteno were not as fortunate as McNamara and Bradley-Bourbonnais. Neither team brought a full lineup and both schools decided not to wrestle against each other because each believed there was nothing to gain. With state playoffs coming soon, both schools decided it was best to not risk any further injuries.

This resulted in both schools going 0-2 on the night and leaving the All-City tournament early.

“I just felt like there was truly no need to go down that path again,” Manteno coach Ed Spiewak said. “We were beat up, and Kankakee said they were beat up as well.”

The Panthers had a couple of wrestlers who managed to get at least one victory.

Wyatt Young went 2-0, including a pin against McNamara at the 152-pound division. Damian Alsup also went undefeated after winning his only match at 285-pounds. Kassidy Johnson went 1-1 on the night after a pinfall against the Irish at the 182-pound weight class.

Leading the way for the Kays was heavyweight Alex Rivera who went 2-0 at the 285-pound weight class.

Individual All-City Champions

106: Anthony Lawryn (Bradley-Bourbonnais)

113: Ethan Spacht (Bradley-Bourbonnais)

120: Austin Spacht (Bradley-Bourbonnais)

126: Caleb Magruder (Bishop McNamara)

132: Tyler Starr (Bradley-Bourbonnais)

138: Anthony Mancilla (Bradley-Bourbonnais)

145: Lucas Regnier-Jamnik (Bradley-Bourbonnais)

152: Wyatt Young (Manteno)

160: Dylan Regnier-Jamnik (Bradley-Bourbonais)

170: Donovan Golden (Bishop McNamara)

182: Zander Threm (Bradley-Bourbonnais)

195: Abram Sharp (Manteno)

220: Tywon Mosley (Kankakee)

285: Alex Rivera (Kankakee), Damian Alsup (Manteno)

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