By Mark Gregory
The Lockport Township wrestling team may have been a favorite entering the IHSA Class 4A Regional, but not many would have predicted the Porters to dominate the way they did.
Lockport racked up 275.5 points, beating No. 2 Providence Catholic (177.0) by nearly 100 points.
“This was pretty good,” Lockport coach Jake Oster said. “This is something we are capable of. We wrestled pretty good, but not perfect. The kids were prepared and came out and wrestled hard. Everyone did their job. Providence is good and they wrestled us hard, but everyone took care of their job and got it done.”
Lockport boasted eight regional champions and three runners up in the tournament.
Leading the charge for the Porters was senior Payton Fernandes, who was the No. 4 seed and won the 182-pound weight class with three consecutive pins.
In the final, he pinned AJ Lighthall of Neuqua Valley in 1 minute, 12 seconds.
“I always have full confidence and I don’t expect to lose any match,” he said.
Fernandes was pinned by Lighthall earlier in the season.
“I was sick that day and wasn’t feeling that great,” Fernandes said. “I wanted to get some revenge. There was a lot of argument about me being the fourth seed because we didn’t expect that.”
His brother Baylor, a sophomore, also won the regional at 145, beating Juan Bazaldua of Providence 7-0.
“I just want to keep peaking until state finals when it is all over,” Baylor Fernandes said.
Lockport senior Abdullah Assaf continued his run toward a state title with a 6-4 win over Gannon Hughes of Oswego at 132.
“I like to be challenged, I like the final match because he came at me,” Assaf said. “I also like that in a close match I am giving four points and I am getting the take downs that I need. Next time I will change some things up and the score won’t be the same.
“I like to dominate kids. I like to break them – I want to dominate. As mean as it sounds, I like when a kid walks off the mat with his head down or he wants to stop wrestling me because I am in his face all six minutes, or all eight, however long it takes. No matter if I am up 12-0 or down 8-0, I am in your face and right there with you. If you have any other attitude, this is not the sport for you.”
The other champions for the Porters were, Matt Ramos (106), Anthony Molton (113), Brandon Ramos (138), Trevell Timmons (160),
James Pierandozzi (120), Nichola Dado (170) and Yousif Salah (220) placed second, while Brendan Ramsey (126), Zach Reese (152) took third.
Thirteen of the 14 Lockport wrestlers will compete next week at the Bolingbrook Sectional.
At the Lincoln-Way East Sectional, Joliet West’s Austin Poch won at 120 pounds, while Jeremy Pullen (2nd, 138), Robert Ford (2nd, 285), Eric Davis-Smith (3rd, 126) and Jake Aharrah (3rd, 170) all advanced.
Joliet Central’s Isaiah Davis was 3rd at 195 to advance.
Minooka competed in the Rock Island Regional and had Cody Hoshell (3rd, 113), Dominic Ruettiger (2nd, 120), Zach McDowel (2nd, 126), Adam McDowell (3rd, 132), Eli Mondrella (3rd, 138), Noah Boles (2nd, 152), Drew Gutknecht (2nd, 195), Connor Briley (2nd, 220) and Derek Wentworth (3rd, 285) advance to the sectional round.
As a team, Minooka placed second in the regional with 169.5 points, two points behind Southwest Prairie Conference foe Plainfield South who tallied 171.5.