Hononegah varsity boys wrestling team dominates regionals, moves on to sectionals


Hononegah wrestlers at Huntley

Hononegah’s varsity boys wrestling team crushed the competition again this past Saturday at the IHSA Huntley Regionals. As a whole, Hononegah won the team competition alongside the individual first place awards with 249.5 points total. Because the team itself won first place, Hononegah will be competing in the 3A team sectional against Hershey on Tuesday, February 20, at HCHS. 

The team had 14 total wrestlers participating in the event, with 12 making it to the semifinals and proceeding to place in the top three in their respective weight classes. Hononegah brought home eight regional champions, two second place winners, and two third place finishes. These 12 young men will compete in the IHSA 3A individual Barrington Sectionals February 9 and 10.

One wrestler, in particular, deserves a special mention after his performance at the regional competition and throughout the season as a whole. It is evident to anyone who saw Evan Musil (freshman, 126 lbs) wrestle at the beginning of the season and watched him again at Huntley, that he has dedicated himself to the sport and this team. At the start of this season, Musil showed ability but lacked some of the techniques demonstrated by his more highly trained teammates. 

Now, however, Musil shows clear mastery of those practices that he had all the potential to achieve from the start. It is obvious that he has grit and the drive to learn and improve himself. We are all surely excited to see how much farther he will come by his senior season. He trampled his opponent in the quarterfinals with an 18-4 major decision and put up a strong fight in the semifinals. Despite losing his semifinal round, Musil did not give up and proceeded to pin his consolation semifinal opponent quickly, sending him to the third place bout. After a stressful craze amongst the team trying to find him a mouth guard to avoid forfeit, Musil championed third place with a 6-3 fall and every Hononegah fan cheering him on.

The quarterfinals kicked off at 9 a.m., starting strong with Thomas Silva (138 lbs) who pinned his opponent in 1:28 seconds with a match score of 11-3. Sophomore Robert Darling (132 lbs) easily advanced to the semifinals with an aggressive pin accompanied by a 14-point difference. Following Darling’s victory, junior Max Aranki got a nail-biting major decision call with only eight seconds left on the clock and a score of 13-2. Next up was junior Maximus Haskins who triumphed in his match with a 19-3 technical fall win. 

After Haskins’ victory, junior Kurt Smith got a 1:49 second pin to send him on to the next round. Six wrestlers: Rocco Cassioppi (freshman), Bruno Cassioppi (freshman), Jackson Olson (sophomore), Brody Sendele (freshman), Connor Diemel (junior), and Chuck Smith (senior) got a bye for the quarterfinals, pushing them directly into the semifinals a few hours later. Although they did their best, juniors Greyson Cotone (190 lbs) and Carlos Delgado (285 lbs) did not make it past the quarterfinals.

Semifinals started with the Cassioppi twins: Rocco with a 12-5 pin at 1:27 seconds, and Bruno with an 11-3 pin at 1:30 seconds. Olson, coming back from a painful rib tissue injury that put him out for the conference tournament, got a 12-4 pin at 3:13 seconds. Silva took another 11-3 pin this time with 32 seconds left in the first period. Aranki made it to the final bout with a challenging match that resulted in a 5-1 decision call. Haskins won with a 6-3 decision. Sendele showed some of his best at Huntley opening with a relentless 21-4 technical fall. Diemel achieved a pin at 1:46 seconds and Kurt Smith at 1:41 seconds. Chuck Smith got a 14-2 fall at 3:36 seconds. Darling lost in a 5-6 decision.

In the consolation semifinals, Darling made it to the third place bout with a swift 16-0 technical fall. Cotone and Delgado both lost by decision. Darling proceeded to take third place with an 11-3 major decision.

First place matches began at 2 p.m., heading off with Rocco and Bruno Cassioppi. Rocco won his match with an easy - easy for Rocco, at least - pin and final score of 18-4 (only for the team rank and his own enjoyment). Simultaneously, Bruno Cassioppi got a 1:45 second pin, scoring 9 points for Hononegah. Silva executed a 20-3 technical fall. Haskins got a very deserved 1:53 second fall after several injury timeouts all day long. Sendele took first with another technical fall, 21-6. Diemel got 2:15 second pin and scored 11 points. Kurt Smith got a 15-7 major decision win. And lastly, Chuck Smith brought home the final victory with an 8-1 decision. Aranki and Olson both took home second place titles after difficult bouts.

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