PARK RIDGE – St. Charles North’s Wes Pasholk's fourth place finish Saturday in the 220 pound weight class at the Maine East Class 3A Wrestling Sectional earned him more than a berth at next weekend’s IHSA State Meet in Champaign.
It also made him a member of a very exclusive group of North Star grapplers. The senior is only the third wrestler in the school’s history to advance to the state meet.
“I’m excited as can be,” said Pasholk, who was also the only North wrestler to qualify for this year's sectional.
Pasholk will see several familiar faces at next weekend’s meet as four St. Charles East wrestlers placed high enough to also earn trips downstate.
“In a perfect world you would get nine, but four out of nine is still tough,” said East coach Jason Potter, who had nine wrestlers qualify for the sectional. “You feel much better as a coach if you secure one [state berth], and from there on out you are trying to get as many as you can.”
Twelve wrestlers competed in each weight class with the top four finishers advancing to the state meet.
The day did not start well for Pasholk (29-6). He was pinned by Willowbrook’s Dan Draski in the championship semifinal. The loss dropped him into the consolation bracket.
“The first match of the day I had a real close one against the Willowbrook guy,” Pasholk said. “I had a good chance to get him but he caught me.”
Pasholk won the consolation semifinal to advance to the third place meet against Brandon Vamarasi of Evanston.
The bout was tied 1-1 with a minute left in the third period when Vamarasi took the lead and the match with a takedown.
“He (Vamarasi) couldn’t take us down unless we made a mistake and we did,” North coach Pete McNamara said. “We’ll live to fight another day but may be not as high up the pecking order as we would like to be come next weekend.”
Junior Isaiah Vela (35-4) was the top finisher for the Saints by taking second place honors in the 132 pound class. He faced undefeated Larry Early, a sophomore from Oak Park River Forest, for the title bout.
Early (42-0) won the meet with a 3-2 decision.
“I just wanted to go out there and wrestle my match and do what I can,” Vela said about the championship round. “He ended getting the win but I’m going to fight back next week and try to stay on top.”
Three Saints earned fourth place honors: Ryan Rubino (35-6) at 106, Keone Derain (30-8) at 145 and Brad Kearbey (32-11) at 160.
“We had a couple of guys in there who were on the cusp of getting it done,” Potter said about his wrestlers who did not qualify. “A few of them are young so they are going to come back, and we are happy with it.”
Rubino’s younger brother Anthony (32-10) finished fifth in the 113 weight class and was named as an alternate. He will only compete next week if one of the qualifying wrestlers at 113 have to drop out.