By Mark Gregory
After a two year hiatus, Bolingbrook is headed back to the state wrestling tournament.
Freshman Dylan Burnoski will carry the torch for the Raiders as he heads to the IHSA finals this weekend at the State Farm Center on the campus of the University of Illinois in Champaign.
Burnoski (30-8) placed second at 106 pounds at the Bolingbrook Sectional, losing in the final 2-1 to Plainfield North senior Marcus Povlik, the No. 1 ranked wrestler in the state at 106.
“It is really cool and it was a great experience and knowing that I can stick with seniors is a really big deal,” Burnoski said. “I knew I could have beat him, but I came up short at the end.”
Burnoski opened the tournament by pinning Briscoe Watson of Homewood-Flossmoor in 1 minute, 28 seconds.
He then earned a 6-4 decision over Noah Surtin of Edwardsville in the quarterfinal and a 10-3 decision over Anthony Molton of Lockport in the semifinal to secure his place at state.
“That match was pretty big. I knew I had to win that match to advance to the state finals,” Burnoski said. “It feels pretty good. When I was a kid, I went and watched it and now I am competing in it.”
Bolingbrook coach Dan Bullivant was not surprised by Burnoski’s performance.
“Dylan can go toe to toe against anyone,” Bullivant said. “We are still cleaning up a few things with him, but I am very excited that he has the opportunity to compete this year. Anything can happen once you get to the dance. He is no stranger to big matches. He has wrestled nationally in the IKWF and he carried that kind of moxie and he doesn’t hold back, even when he is wrestling a senior.”
Burnoski becomes the first Bolingbrook freshman to advance to state in the school’s history.
Despite being a freshman, Burnoski is setting his sights high.
“I want to be on top of the podium,” he said. “There is no pressure, I have been to the state finals four times and won nationals so I can handle it.”
Bullivant knows the stage will not be too big for the ninth grader.
“There are seniors that started wrestling in junior high or high school and they clam up sometime in big matches and Dylan doesn’t have that and you like that in a kid,” he said. “There is no lack of confidence with him.”
Six other Raiders competed at the sectional meet, but did not advance to the state meet.
Three of the six came within one match of advancing to state as John O`Brien (126) lost by technical fall in 5:28 in the consolation semifinals to Garrett Bass of Belleville West.
Clarence Golden also missed by one match at 152 as he was pinned in 4:51 by Dalton Lawver of Rock Island, while at 195, Isaiah Herrera lost 4-2 to Erick Cole of Rock Island.
Xavion Rolle (132), Demetrius Crisanto (220) and Garrick Adams (285) also competed in the sectional tournament.