Asael Rubalcava is the first Evergreen Park wrestler to win a sectional championship, which he did Feb. 11 at the IHSA Class 2A Hinsdale South Sectional. Photo by Mike Walsh

Asael Rubalcava is the first Evergreen Park wrestler to win a sectional championship, which he did Feb. 11 at the IHSA Class 2A Hinsdale South Sectional. Photo by Mike Walsh

Boys Wrestling | Brother Rice and St. Rita each sending four to Champaign

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Evergreen Park, Richards and Kennedy grapplers also headed to state

By Mike Walsh
Correspondent

Call it purpose or focus or determination.

Whichever word you choose, Brother Rice’s Bobby Conway had it in abundance entering the final match at 126 pounds at the IHSA Class 2A Hinsdale South Sectional on Feb. 11.

The sophomore needed just 56 seconds to pin St. Rita’s Nino Protti and advance to this weekend’s Class 2A state finals at State Farm Center on the University of Illinois campus.

“I wrestled [Protti) at the Catholic League (tournament),” Conway said. “I know the kid and I like the kid. But I had a game plan.

“I did everything right and executed my game plan.”

For Conway (23-1), this will be his second consecutive trip to state. Last year, he was 1-2 at the tournament while competing at 120.

“I like being back down there,” Conway said. “I know I’ll place there this year. I want to go down there and wrestle and be on the top of the podium.

“For me to get this feels good. And we have (other wrestlers) in the finals and that makes me feel good, too. I hope we all make the podium downstate.”

Crusaders 195-pounder Gambino Perez also placed first at the sectional. Perez (20-5) posted a 7-2 victory over Lemont’s Nathan Wrublik in the final.

Perez also appeared downstate last season, winning once at 195 pounds. He weighed in at 178 at the sectional, so was competing against wrestlers with a distinct weight advantage; but he placed confidence in his speed and quickness.

Wrestling Rice Conway scaled

Bobby Conway of Brother Rice won the 126-pound championship at the IHSA Class 2A Hinsdale South Sectional. Photo by Mike Walsh

 

 

 

“I’m always looking to win it,” he said. “I’m faster than them. They might be stronger, but I have the speed and they can’t see me.

“I’m excited as hell to get downstate. I know the competition will be there waiting for me.”

At 170, Evergreen Park’s Asael Rubalcava boosted his record to 36-1 as he recorded a 12-0 major decision over Thornton’s Davion Adams in the championship match. Rubalcava, who did not make it out of sectionals last season, holds the distinction of being the first sectional champion Mustangs history.

He was seeded fourth at Hinsdale South.

“I want to prove that I belong with the top kids in Class 2A,” he said. “I’ve been training hard and giving my all every day. I’ve been in the weight room working hard.

“I wasn’t the No. 1 seed (at the sectional) and that should have been my spot. But this is the first time going downstate and it feels great. I proved I can get down there.”

All wrestlers who placed in the top four in their respective weight classes at Hinsdale South will compete at state.

The St. Rita foursome of Protti (26-13, second at 126), Sean Larkin (29-5, second at 132), Connor Pasch (26-9, third at 138) and Austin Dangles (27-9, third at 120) also qualified.

Also advancing were Brother Rice’s John Fitzpatrick (22-14, fourth at 152) and Chuck Connelly (30-6, second at 182), Richards’ Mike Taheny (41-8, second at 160), Evergreen Park’s Eduardo Antunez (35-10, second at 220) and Johan Bonilla (31-14, fourth at 106), and Kennedy’s Victor Alvarado (36-5, third at 113).

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