By Mark Gregory
CHAMPAIGN – For the first three years of his career, Notre Dame’s Josh Barzowski qualified for the IHSA Class 3A wrestling tournament twice, going a combined 1-4 in those two appearances.
This season, as a senior, Barzowski made his third trip to the State Farm Center on the campus of the University of Illinois and posted a 2-2 mark and advanced to the third day for the first time in his career.
Barzowski (39-6) opened the 160-pound tournament with a 4-3 decision over Michial Foy of Crete-Monee, before losing to eventual state runner up Nate Jimenez of Marmion Academy 2-1 in the first tie breaker.
Barzowski then bounced back and defeated Juan Quiroz of Huntley 8-3 to advance to the final day of the tournament.
“[Getting to the final day] was big,” Barzowski said. “The main thing for me was calming my mental aspect. Physically I was fine – just a little tired – but mentally, I had to get ready for another tough opponent.”
In his opening match of Saturday, he fell to eventual fifth-place finisher Brian Holloway of Oak Park-River Forest 8-5.
“It was awesome getting to the final day, because last year I was a match short,” Barzowski said. “A medal [would have been huge] but I am proud of my career.”
Maine South sent a trio of wrestlers to the state meet, but none wrestled more than two matches.
At 152, Eugene Lee fell in the opening round to Zach Reese of Lockport 7-1, while Jon Halvorsen (170) was pinned in the first round by eventual state champion David Riojas of Mt. Carmel in 1 minute, 54 seconds. He then injury defaulted to Oswego’s Josh Torres in the first round of wrestlebacks.
Michael Milito (195) had the same fate as he defaulted to eventual state champion Patrick Brucki of Sandburg in the opening round and was a medical forfeit in the wrestlebacks to Bolingbrook’s Isaiah Herrera.